Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

Some things are just made to go together: strawberries and chocolate; a needle and thread; Starsky and Hutch; fish and chips; a lazy Sunday and blueberry pancakes.

So sayeth me.

a delicious stack of pancakes

What about you?  Do you fancy some?

Makes around 8 medium-ish pancakes

Ingredients
3 large eggs, separated
115g gluten free plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
140ml milk
A good pinch of salt
Maple syrup and a dot of butter to serve
Music

If you’re going to need to cook in batches (which is very likely) put the oven on now, at a reasonable temperature, so that you can pop cooked pancakes in there to keep warm while you finish frying their kin.

egg yolk and flourPlace the flour and baking powder into a bowl then beat in egg yolks and milk, creating a smooth batter.  Start with the yolks, then add the milk a bit at a time, beating after each addition.

beaten to peaksWhisk the whites with the salt until they form stiff peaks.

fold togetherAdd egg whites to flour and yolk batter.

fold until just combinedUsing a large metal spoon, cut and fold in the whites until just combined – go gently, taking care to keep in as much of the air as possible.

sprinkle with blueberriesHeat a heavy based pan or griddle on a medium to high heat.  Lightly brush surface with a thin coating of butter or oil then pour on batter – make your pancakes as big or as small as you like.

You may need to control the run with a spatula but after a few moments they’ll start to firm up and hold their own shape.

Sprinkle with a few blueberries and continue to cook until the bottom is golden brown.

Turn pancakes over (blueberry side down) and continue to cook until that side is also golden brown.  You may need to press them down gently with your spatula to get even colouring.

Work quickly through cooking your batches as the mixture rapidly deflates and becomes overly runny (still nice when cooked though).Topped with butter and maple syrupServe immediately, stacked high, with a little button of melting butter and a good dousing of maple syrup (far more than it would appear in the pictures!)

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Rösti with a blue cheese centre

rösti
ˈrəːsti/
noun
a Swiss dish of grated potatoes formed into a small flat cake and fried.

When making rösti I’ve always gone for the grated and squeezed raw potato method, which has worked fine as far as I’m concerned.

However I recently read a thing on the internet that said you should parboil your potatoes for precisely 6 minutes, then cool before grating.  I can’t for the life of me remember where I read this, but I believe the person said they’d been taught to do it this way whilst growing up in Switzerland, and they spelled it ‘röschti’, so it seemed to me that they might know what they were talking about.  Worth giving it a go, anyway.

So I set about making my first batch of rösti using the parboiling method, with the intention that I also do a comparison batch using my original method.  However, I got sidetracked by a book during the cooling time for the parboiled spuds and by the time I remembered what I was supposed to be doing, hunger was pushing me to just cook and eat.

RostiI then got a bit carried away, adding the onions and blue cheese, thus I can’t definitively say whether or not the parboiling makes a substantial difference to a basic rösti.  I can definitively say that this less than authentic version tastes fan-bloody-tastic!

Ingredients
1 medium, or a couple of small, waxy* potatoes per person
*Charlottes are generally easy to get hold of in the UK
1 small onion
Blue cheese of choice (I used Danish Blue)
A knob of butter
A couple of splashes of vegetable oil
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Music

Before you start, you need to find a plate the fits over your frying pan…ideally it should be slightly larger than the pan or fit snugly just inside at the top edge.  Set it to one side cos you’ll need it later to turn your rösti over.

You’ll have to improvise if you don’t have a big enough plate (how large is your frying pan?  Or should that be, how small are your plates?).  Maybe you could try covering a chopping board with baking foil…it just needs to be heatproof and have a smooth, slidey surface.

Parboil for exactly 6 minutes
That is not a hairy potato…

Place your unpeeled potatoes into a pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for 6 minutes.

Drain and cool, then refrigerate for at least two hours.  Three hours and fifty two minutes is about right if you have a book to read 😉

Ad onions and seasoningCoarsely grate the potatoes, skin and all, into a bowl.

Coarsely grate the onion on top and season with salt and pepper.

Put chunks of cheese all overHeat half the butter and oil in a frying pan, over a medium to high heat; when it’s sizzling tip in half the potato mix and spread evenly across pan.

Add your blue cheese, then cover with the remaining potatoes.

cover with remaining potatoShake your pan around to level things out a bit then allow it to cook for a few minutes before starting to shape your rösti using a spatula.  Don’t squish it down too much.

Leave to cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the bottom is golden and crispy.

Cook other sideTake your larger-than-the-pan sized plate, place over the pan, flip everything upside down, and you should now have an empty pan and a plate containing a half done rösti, cooked side up.

Heat the remainder of your butter and oil, again until it’s sizzling, then slide the rösti back into the pan.

Cook for a further 10 minutes and serve.

Serve with salad & horseradish sauceServed for supper with a small undressed salad on the side.

The last minute addition of a dollop of horseradish sauce was, if I may say, a stroke of gustatory genius.  If you have some, you should go for it.  If not, you could try mustard, which is the condiment I originally intended to use, before the jar of horseradish sashayed seductively into my field of vision.

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Wickedly Tempting Chilli Chocolate Brownies

For one reason and another it’s been a dreadfully long time since Barn and I were able to enjoy a leisurely Sunday brunch together; however, the calendar indicated that our free time would coincide this weekend – glee!

Barn was full of anticipatory excitement as Sunday approached – the ‘big food shop’ had been delivered, cupboards, fridge and freezer were bulging with exotic delights…expectations were high for some kind of culinary wizardry.

BrowniesThen the day dawned and all I wanted to eat was brownies – warm, fudgey, chocolatey brownies.

Now Barn’s not normally one to need persuasion to eat chocolate but for some reason he was being difficult:

“You can’t just eat cake.  You have to have something savoury first.”

“OK, I’ll have a piece of Marmite on toast.”

The LookHe gave me The Look

“Fine!  I’ll have a piece of Marmite on toast, cut it in half and therefore will eat TWO pieces of toast”

He wasn’t buying it

“All right, all right…I’ll have a bacon sandwich.  But only if you make it while I make brownies – of which I’m going to eat non-rationed and unquestioned quantities.”

And so the deal was done

Bacon buttyThis is the bacon butty that was duly consumed: rather tasty and actually a good call on Barn’s part, as me, fuelled solely by sugar and butter = likely bad ending 😉Chilli chocolateIngredients
200g unsalted butter
130g plain dark chocolate, broken into chunks
100g chilli flavoured dark chocolate, broken into chunks
alternatively, use 230g plain chocolate and a pinch or two of chilli flakes ground into powder with a mortar and pestle – add this in with chocolate
160g caster sugar (preferably golden, but white is fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
25g cocoa powder
3 medium eggs, beaten
100g ground almonds
50g plain gluten free flour mix (I use Dove’s Farm)
Music

Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170°C/325ºF.

Lightly butter your baking tin and line with greaseproof paper (you can probably get away without lining but I tend to play safe).  My tin was a little to large and so the brownies were a touch too thin – a 8″ (20cm) square tin would be about right.

Broken chocolate chunksMelt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan.

Melted chocolate and butterTake the pan off the heat.

Vanilla pasteSift in cocoa powder, add vanilla and sugar and whisk until combined.  Leave the mix to cool a little (5-10 minutes).

Sugar, cocoa, vanilla and eggs addedAdd eggs to chocolate mix and beat until smooth and glossy.

Ground almondsBeat in ground almonds and flour then pour into the prepared baking tray.

Baked brownie trayBake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until just firm to the touch in the centre.
(I don’t know why that pretty swirly design happened – please don’t be cross if you don’t get this lovely effect 😉 )

Allow to cool a bit before turning out of the tray and cutting into squares.

Brownies and creamServe warm with whipped cream.

When completely cooled, store in an airtight container – this makes it easy to carry them around with you so you can snack at will through the day 😀
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Sunday Brunch – Hot Roast Beef, Onion and Stilton Sandwiches

A beastly week in the day job culminated in me needing to work this Sunday.  Less than impressed, I coaxed myself out of bed at insane-o’clock-in-the-morning with the promise of something über delicious for brunch.  By the time I was heading home again, at well past midday, I was also vowing that brunch would be spectacularly quick and easy to make.sandwiches and ciderA quick whizz through the local supermarket yielded some freshly baked ciabatta style rolls and a bottle of my (current) favourite cider, but still no real plan.

After a rummage through the fridge at home we finally decided to make hot roast beef sandwiches.  It turned out to be an extremely good and satisfying choice 🙂

I feel it’s a bit of a stretch, calling this a ‘recipe’ – after all, it’s a sandwich!  Perhaps calling it a ‘how to’ would be more appropriate…?!

Ingredients
1 ciabatta roll per person 
4 slices roast beef per person
1 small onion, sliced, per person
Small knob of butter
Splash of olive oil
Mustard
Stilton
Music – an essential ingredient to all Sunday brunch recipes.

Of course, your choice of music is entirely your own – as long as you enjoy it, it will work well with the recipe.

Heating the beef over onionsHeat the oil and butter, add sliced onions and sauté.  When they begin to soften, but are not quite cooked, lay the slices of roast beef over the top to heat.  Turn the roast beef frequently to prevent the upper side from drying out.

horseradish mustard and stiltonCut rolls in half, lightly toast then spread one side lavishly with mustard.  I’m currently in the throes of a love affair with this horseradish mustard, which is utterly perfect with beef, but wholegrain or English are just as good

my sandwichPile cooked onions onto the rolls and add folded slices of beef (make sure beef is piping hot).  Top with slices of Stilton and pop under a hot grill for a few minutes to melt.  Slap on the top half of the roll and consume enthusiastically.

Barn's sandwichYou may notice that I accidentally made Barn’s sandwich upside down – this appears to have had no adverse effect on the flavour 😉MelonMelon slices afterwards…because it’s always nice to have something sweet, don’t you think?

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The food week that was – 09/03/15

A slightly strange week, filled with carbohydrates and see-saw emotions…Baked spud and sausagesMonday: Exhausted from our day jobs, and suffering severe Monday-itis, we slung potatoes into the oven, defrosted leftover veg chilli, grilled sausages, chucked cheese all over it and ate.  There was a definite correlation between the decline in grumpy silence and the progression of food consumption 😉

Savoury bread puddingTuesday: Savoury bread pudding made using left over olive bread and an onion bagel, layered with more olives and crumbled Stilton, then saturated with a savoury egg custard, topped with cherry tomatoes and grated parmesan, baked ’til golden brown.

Spag BolWednesday: Rich, meaty, wine steeped, mushroom studded, slowly simmered, Bolognese sauce served with Fusilli lunghi bucati (aka Rasta Pasta), with plenty of black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan to finish.

Soup ingredients

Thursday: Having been variously chopped, sautéed, simmered, blended and seasoned, these ingredients (plus some veg stock and cream) became…

Soup…this delicious soup.  A stack of door-stop style roast beef sandwiches rounded things off nicely.  Petit Man has been suffering with a harsh cough and cold (a real one, not a Man one), so this worked well to soothe and comfort.

Shortbread

Thursday snacking: Gluten free shortbread – probably the quickest and easiest sweet baked snack you will ever make!

Here’s how to make them:  You require three ingredients – butter, caster sugar and gluten free flour – in the weight ratio 2:1:3.  I also use a small amount of baking powder (about 1 teaspoon per 300g of flour) as I prefer the more open texture this gives, but it’s not necessary.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Sift in flour (and baking powder, if using).  Using your hands gently fold and knead the mixture until it comes together into a firm ball.  Press into an appropriately sized, greased baking tin then chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes.  Bake at gas mark 5/190°C until golden brown.  Cut while still warm, cool on a rack and dredge with caster sugar before serving.

If you like a flavoured biscuit you can add lemon/lime/orange zest to the flour, or chuck in some vanilla, or drizzle with melted chocolate when cooled, or…whatever else you like.  There are no strict rules 😉Baked spuds and tuna

Friday: Baked potatoes stuffed with tuna, sweetcorn and sliced black olives, served with beer battered onion rings and rather over baked cherry tomatoes.  About as simple as it gets – I think the only way less effort could have been put into this meal is if it had been made into a sandwich. – nonetheless, satisfying.  Sometimes simple is just what you need.

Cheese, olives & crackers

Saturday: We like cheese.  We amass cheeses like a weird, hoarding, mischief of mice.  We currently have 11 different cheese varieties in our fridge.  For the dairy-curious amongst you, they are : Stilton, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, extra mature Cheddar, oak smoked Cheddar, farmhouse Cheddar, grated Mozzarella, Edam, Camembert, Cambozola and Halloumi.

It’s somewhat inevitable then, that some meals are nothing but cheese.  And so it was on Saturday evening.  With crackers, olives and a glass of wine, I’d call this a very well balanced meal 😀

Cornish sardines and Staffordshire oatcakes

Sunday Brunch: Fresh Cornish sardines, topped with a little crushed garlic and a good squeeze of lemon juice, then grilled until the skins were crispy.  Served with lemon wedges and Staffordshire oatcakes.

Sunday Dinner: It was Mothers’ Day here in the UK – those of the family who were able to gathered at Mum’s house where Medieval, despite being in much pain with an injured foot, cooked an incredible roast chicken dinner for us all.  He presented us with rosemary and lemon chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, roast squash and parsnips, broccoli, carrots, Spring cabbage and gravy – the only fault to be found was that it was so delicious and tempting, it was gobbled up before I remembered about taking a photo!

Just Something I Wanted to Say: Whether you feel that Mothers’ Day is just another commercially driven construct, or see it as a wonderful chance to express love and gratitude, it can, like any other celebration, be a difficult, sadness triggering time for many.  Within my own small sphere there are people whose mothers have died, ones who have troubled relationships with emotionally distant mothers, ones who were brought up in care and who don’t know their mothers, ones who are estranged from their mothers, ones who cannot have children, those whose children have died…many, many reasons why a little extra love, thought and tenderness might be due to them on the day that is all about celebrating motherhood.  So I send extra special thoughts and hugs to anyone who felt that tug of sorrow yesterday, whoever you are and wherever you are.

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The food week that was – 23/02/15

Happy St. David’s Day people of Wales!

Each year, this day brings back abundant memories of being at primary school in a tiny Welsh village …in particular, being issued with a choice of leek or daffodil to wear for the day.  The older kids always went with a leek, preferably one so large it had to be worn cross-wise on the chest, with a phalanx of pins required to keep it there.  This would then be nibbled and gnawed throughout the day, much to the chagrin of the head teacher, who felt it to be utterly disrespectful to the patron saint.  End of day prayers and gratitudes would be chanted by around 20 children sporting leek roots on their now out of shape jumpers.

Back to modern times, no raw leeks were consumed this week.  The following dishes were though:

Roast pork shoulderMonday: Most people have a Sunday roast but because we were too busy lazy to cook it on Sunday, we had a Monday roast instead.

Pork shoulder with a honey, rosemary and garlic glaze,  braised red cabbage with apple and cranberries, roast potatoes, steamed carrots, Petit Man’s awesome cauliflower cheese with leeks, and gravy that was perked up with a splash of red wine.  Right up there in the yumminess charts.

Brisket wrapsTuesday: The previous night we’d taken some pulled brisket from the freezer with no plan as to what to do with it.  When dinner time came all of us were tired and can’t-be-botheredish, so once again we trod the path of least resistance and went for wraps made thusly:

Fry up onion, garlic and strips of green peppers; add shredded beef and heat thoroughly.  Generously spread a tortilla wrap (in this case herb and garlic ones) with chilli ketchup and top with grated cheese (we used a mix of Monterey Jack, mozzarella and extra mature farmhouse cheddar – but that’s just because it was what we had in the fridge!).  Grill until cheese has melted.  Watch the tortilla edges very carefully – they wait ’til they think you’re not looking then hurriedly burn themselves.  Remove from grill, add beef and veg, top with soured cream and fire-roasted chillies, roll, cut and eat.  Simples.Fish and chipsWednesday: Using my unholy influence* upon Barn, I created in him a desire for fish ‘n’ chips that was so strong he was unable to resist stopping off on the way back from the gym to pick some up.  Mwahahaha!

The batter on the fish was superb – crispy, fresh and not harbouring oil wells.  The chips were top notch and the mushy peas finished it off nicely.  Eaten straight from the paper watching trash TV this was a truly satisfying meal.

* Until now you’ve probably been blissfully unaware that I am, apparently, the anti-Christ.  I have been publicly denounced as such by a someone ‘in the know’.  I’ll tell you the story if you ask me to ;-).

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Meat. A lot of meat.

Sunday afternoon – brunch time in the Renegade household – with mixed grill on the menu.

Mixed grill againFrom the top: pork sausage (burned at one end because the packet got squashed in transit and the innards had mushed out!), a tiny piece of venison steak trimmed from Petit Man’s much larger one, grilled field mushroom , grilled vine tomato, beef fillet steak, thick cut bacon, and in the centre, a fine lamb chop.

Eaten with great dollops of sauces, this was delicious.  Shame we forgot the onion rings.  Never mind, next time…

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A family that likes to brunch

Continuing the treats for Big Sis’s birthday weekend, on the Sunday we went out to one of our favourite local eateries for brunch.  Can’t fault the place –  fabulous food, excellent service, great ambiance, and all within ambling distance of home.

After much dithering I ordered the corned beef hash…with a bacon sandwich on the side. Freshly squeezed orange juice and copious cups of tea completed the delicious meal.

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Salt beef with grated potatoes and parsley, served with an egg on top, crispy bacon on the side and a puddle of yummy but not identified sauce.20140504_114750Slabs of bacon, crispy round the edges, liberally sauced with good ol’ HP and presented between thick slices of soft, freshly baked bread.  Now THAT is what you call a bacon butty!

20140504_114530Heaven help me, how did I become part of an Instagram family?!

Medieval despairs as we all delay eating by whipping out our cameras.  A full English awaits his ministrations.

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