Roasted Vegetable Rice

Monday, 26 November 2012

I have a tendency to get addicted to things.  I gorge for however long and then suddenly that’s it, we’re through.  I’m not talking people of course but I am talking music (currently irritating my poor husband by listening to this album on repeat), television programmes (Recently it was The Walking Dead, now it’s The Killing), films, authors, favourite clothes (I won’t bore you).  Food is no exception.  I’ve been making a variation of rice salads quite a bit this year, using whatever vegetables are in season.  We have this for dinner at least once a week.  As time has gone by I have become more adept at cutting corners and the number of pans I use.  It’s a healthy, colourful dish with enough variety to keep things interesting.  You don’t have to keep it vegetarian, you can add whatever combination of meat and vegetables, nuts etc. you like.
Serves 2
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Zest ½ lemon
Juice ½ lemon
75g brown rice (here I used a mixture of wild rice and red camargue rice)
1 parsnip peeled and chopped
1 carrot peeled and chopped
½ cup of celeriac peeled and chopped
½ cup red cabbage chopped
½ cup kale chopped
Handful of unsweetened coconut flakes (I’ve also used flaked almonds)
Handful of pumpkin seeds (optional)
Dried cherries (or cranberries work well)
Hard goat cheese (or feta would be fine)
2 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and chopped
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 200°C, 400°F
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the rice according to pack instructions.  Mine took 35 minutes.  Once cooked drain and rinse.
While the rice is cooking combine the olive oil, parsnip, carrot and celeriac in a large baking tray.  Roast for 20 – 30 minutes checking to turn the veg half way through until beginning to brown.  Add the cabbage, coconut flakes and pumpkin seeds and return to the oven for a further ten minutes.  Finally add the kale and cherries and return to the oven for five minutes more until the kale has wilted and the cherries are plump.
When everything is ready add the cooked rice to the baking tray and mix with the vegetables, then mix in the lemon juice, lemon zest and a drizzle more of olive oil if you like.  Serve on plates topped with crumbled goats cheese and the boiled eggs.  I quite often throw a chopped avocado in at this point too.


Friday, 23 November 2012

I for one am very glad it’s Friday.   Kick back, enjoy the weekend, eat some pancakes.  Gluten free pancake recipe here.  That pear sauce I was crazy about a few weeks ago...we’re still going strong.  Try it on top of these fluffy, light pancakes, you won’t regret it.  Happy weekend x
Pear Sauce adapted from Elephantine
2 cups of pears chopped
½ cup of water
Pinch of cinnamon
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer with a lid on for 25 to 30 minutes until the pears are broken down.  Allow to cool slightly then blitz in a food processor or blender.  Add honey or sugar to taste if you like.  Store in a jar and keep refrigerated for a few days.  (It won’t hang around for long).

Gluten Free Italian Apple Cake

Sunday, 18 November 2012

I made this cake one Saturday morning waiting for a friend to arrive for the weekend.  We’d devoured the whole thing by the time she left on Sunday afternoon.  It made perfect use of the seasons apples which take centre stage giving the cake a lovely moist texture.  I dialled back the sugar a bit from the original recipe and was pleased I did as the apples make it plenty sweet enough.  The cake works warm from the oven or cold after a spell in the fridge, either way it won’t hang around for long.  You can make the cake with almonds or flour or a mixture of the two as I did below.  We don’t seem to have almond flour in the UK.  It’s texture is finer than our ground almonds so that’s why I decided to make the cake with a combination. 

Recipe slightly adapted from Healthy Green Kitchen

3 eggs

100g unrefined brown sugar (I used demerara)

100g ground almonds

80g Gluten free flour

120ml milk (I used rice milk)

40ml butter melted (I used organic goat butter)

2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 apples, peeled and cut in to wedges.  (I used royal gala apples)

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4, 180°C, 350°F

Grease or line with parchment an 8 inch spring form cake pan.  (mine was slightly bigger hence the thinner cake).

In a bowl combine the eggs and sugar.  Beat well until pale yellow in colour.  Use an electric mixer for this if you are lucky enough to have one.  Next slowly add the flour, milk and butter and continue to combine until well blended.  Add the baking powder and vanilla and continue to beat everything together until really well combined.

Pour the batter in to the prepared cake tin.  Arrange the apple slices in a circle starting in the middle and working outwards.  Bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in to the centre of the cake comes out clean.  The cake should be golden brown.

Allow the cake to cool for ten minutes before removing it from the pan.  I managed to lose a bit of my edge at this point.  Dust with powdered sugar if you like and serve with ice cream or my favourite, natural yoghurt.  I stored the cake in the fridge to keep it moist.


Autumn This and That

Thursday, 15 November 2012

I spotted Christmas cards in Marks and Spencer back in September, now some shops are playing Christmas music.  I’m not down on Christmas, I’d just like a little more autumn first before I contemplate winter full on.  Is that too much to ask?  A few things I’ve liked this autumn...

Carpet of leaves.
Riot of colour, these leaves have sadly fallen to the ground now.
Porridge, I never tire of porridge or indeed pictures of it.  The perfect breakfast for cold days.
Roasting butternut squash...
Then making soup. I used this recipe
Banana bread is comfort food.  Sadly I burnt this gluten free olive oil banana bread with chocolate chunks.  It still tasted pretty good and now I have the perfect excuse to try again.  Watch this space...
Lunch when I'm too lazy to make an effort...almond butter slathered on gluten free toast with a hot mug of tea on a grey day.  Also I'm a little fond of my new striped napkin.  You'll be seeing it a lot.
Purposeful walking through autumn leaves in Jardin du Luxembourg with my favourite person in the world.
Kale season makes me happy.  I don’t mind if you find that a little odd.
You can use your kale in a green smoothie to start your day off right.
Building on my pear sauce obsession I ventured in to making apple sauce too.  Autumn has the best fruit.  Breakfast dessert (because breakfast deserves a second course)... plain yoghurt, apple sauce and quinoa pops. Divine. 
Happy Autumn x

Roasted Roots Gluten Free Pasta

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Sometimes I just want a quick bowl of pasta.  Nothing fancy, just some good old fashioned comfort food.  This has become a favourite winter lunch lately.  Roasted root veg, toasted flaked almonds, lots of cheese.  You can choose whatever vegetables you like.  Here I used parsnip, beetroot, carrots and celeriac.  If you want a little more flavour punch I think roasted onion or garlic would be a great addition, throw in some herbs.  Mix it up, make it your own.
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C, 400°F
Choose your vegetables, chop in to bite size pieces and roast in olive oil in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes.  Add the almonds to the roasting tray for the last ten minutes and cook until everything is golden brown.  Meanwhile cook your gluten free pasta according to the pack instructions.  Once the pasta is ready, drain retaining a little of the cooking water.  Return the pasta to the pan and stir in the roasted vegetables.  Add a little water if you like to loosen the mixture up a bit.  Serve in bowls topped with lots of cheese.  I used hard goat cheese.  In case you hadn’t guessed already, I’m a bit of a fan.

So Easy It Shouldn’t Be Allowed...Pear Sauce

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Pear sauce, oh my word.  I hate to be annoyingly gushy but I’m going to be so please indulge me for a moment.  This pear sauce is amazing, sweet, slightly tart with warmth from the cinnamon, simple to make and delicious on just about everything...ok maybe not everything but you get the idea.  Try it on pancakes, natural yoghurt, ice cream, porridge, roast chicken...?  I’m thinking yes, absolutely.  Just grab a spoon and devour the jar.  I really don’t know why it has taken me so long to make this.  Pears are my favourite fruit at this time of year, making them mushy and sweet couldn’t really go wrong as far as I’m concerned.
I converted this simple recipe for apple sauce from the beautiful blog Elephantine using pears instead.  I also halved the recipe which was incredibly stupid of me as the jar was gone within a day and I had to make more.  I didn’t add any sugar or honey, it didn’t need it but that’s for you to decide.  I left the skins on and once cooked, I did put the cooled pears in my food processor to make a smoother consistency.  A blender would also work or you could mash with a fork for a more rustic effect.  Do yourself a favour and make some, now. 
Recipe here

Lunching at Home

Friday, 2 November 2012

After our trip to Paris I’ve been enjoying the rest of the week at home.  Having time to cook a lunch at home is such a luxury for me.  I am a tad frustrated with my work lunches.  We don’t have a proper kitchen at work and I swear the fridge warms food up rather than cools it down.  That combined with a long commute means I don’t often take cold foods to work.  As a result my lunch comes down to almond butter sandwiches with gluten free bread or oat cakes, rice cakes, sometimes a salad.  Not very inspiring... So, I love this time at home to make wholesome lunches from scratch.  It feels so much more healthy and satisfying.  This week I made this warm beetroot and kale salad bowl with millet inspired by a recipe from The First Mess blog.  (There are about a million things I want to make from this site).  I have to confess I’m rubbish at cooking millet, it always ends up looking more like mash potato but I keep trying.  Either way this dish was lovely.  The earthy rich flavour of the balsamic beets with the kale work so well together and the sugar gives a hint of sweetness.  The tangy goats cheese adds a salty element and rounds out the flavours perfectly.  I changed a few things from the original recipe, mainly dialling back the sugar and vinegar as I love the strong flavour of roasted beets on their own.  I also wilted my kale in the oven with the beets for a couple of minutes.  I find this is a great way to cook kale and saves on washing up.  Try to catch it before it crisps up although crispy kale is pretty good too.  Come Monday morning I will be making sandwiches at 6am again and it will be dark outside.
Recipe adapted from The First Mess
Serves 2
1 large beetroot cut in to wedges
Bunch of kale (I used cavolo nero aka black kale)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp demerara sugar
Extra virgin olive oil
Goats cheese for the top
Quinoa or millet to serve
Preheat oven Gas Mark 6, 200°C, 400°F.  In a baking dish toss the beets with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Sprinkle with demerara sugar.  Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.  Check the beets and give everything a mix, remove the foil then return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes.  Wash the kale and roughly chop.  About five minutes before the beets are ready add the kale to the baking dish and coat evenly with the oil and vinegar mixture.  Return to the oven for five minutes until the kale has wilted.  Meanwhile cook your quinoa or millet according the pack instructions.  Serve the beets and kale over the quinoa/millet and crumble the goats cheese on top.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if you like.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.