We’ve had the pleasure of knowing Simon from Spade Fork Spoon for a while now and he’s inspired us with his homegrown cooking skills. When he offered to write a guest post for us we leapt at the chance. Here’s Simon with his Favourite Five Gluten-free recipes.
Those of you who follow Spade Fork Spoon on Twitter may have noticed an increase in tweets about gluten-free cooking over the last few weeks. This is because my son has recently been diagnosed as coeliac and therefore needs to follow a gluten-free diet. Adapting meals to fit in with his new dietary requirements has been a bit of a challenge, but we’re getting there. When you think about gluten-free, you think that means no bread, pasta and pastry. Prior to his diagnosis, if my son was to list the foods he most enjoyed they may well have included all three of those gluten rich foods! Luckily there are gluten-free alternatives to pasta and Genius produce a great gluten-free puff pastry. However, we’ve yet to find a good bread alternative; however hard companies try, there seems to be no way of recreating the texture and flavour of a good loaf of bread.
We have managed to make some great gluten-free food though, so I wanted to share our favourite five gluten-free recipes with you.
Mustard Cheese Scones - This is a recipe which I adapted from the best gluten-free cookbook for kids we’ve discovered so far, The Gluten-Free Cookbook for Kids by Adriana Rabinovich. It has given us many recipes and this is a quick and easy way of producing a savoury treat for lunchboxes or after school. We tend to use Doves Farm gluten-free flours, but any gluten-free flour mix is worth a go (they all contain slightly different combinations of potato, tapioca, corn and rice flours).
Carrot Cake - Carrot cake is one of our family favourites and my wife has adapted Nigel Slater’s recipe to work as a gluten-free option. Sift together 250g self-raising gluten-free flour, 1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder, 1tsp. cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Whizz 200ml of sunflower oil and 250g soft brown sugar in a food processor until creamy, then add 3 beaten egg yolks (retain the whites), followed by 150g grated carrots, juice of half a lemon and 100g chopped walnuts. Fold in the dry mix, then fold in the beaten egg whites. Divide mix into two 20cm tins and bake for 40-45 mins at 180°C. Once cool, turn out onto a wire rack and then ice with a beaten mix of 250g mascarpone, 200g Philadelphia type cheese, 150g icing sugar and the zest of an orange.
Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies – The added bonus of this version of the classic cake is you can feel good about eating veg as well as chocolate. We haven’t grown sweet potatoes before at the plot, but I think this year we’ll give it a go, so we can make more of these. Start by baking 2 medium sweet potatoes in their skins for 45 mins. Scoop out the flesh and put 250g in a bowl. Line a 20cm square tin with foil. Gently heat 150g gluten-free chocolate and 100ml olive oil in the microwave until melted. Meanwhile mix 125g gluten-free flour with 1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder and 1/4 tsp. xanthum gum. Beat the chocolate into the sweet potato, then add 2 eggs and 150g soft brown sugar. Add the flour mix, stir well, then pour into tin. Bake for 30 mins, cool slightly and then cut in squares.
Polenta and Parmesan Chicken Goujons – This recipe is a revelation. We often used to have breadcrumbed chicken pieces for tea, and needed an alternative now that my son needed a gluten-free diet. Polenta is a good gluten-free option, and the addition of a few gluten-free breadcrumbs and a little parmesan cheese, creates the best crispy chicken ever! To make enough for two for tea; slice a couple of chicken breasts into goujons, then dust the chicken in some gluten-free flour. Dip the dusted goujons in a beaten egg, followed by a combination of polenta, gluten-free breadcrumbs and grated parmesan. Heat some butter and a dash of oil in a frying pan and fry the goujons for 2-3 minutes, turning, until golden. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes in a medium oven until cooked through.
Pizza – Probably one of our family’s favourite foods, a good gluten-free pizza was always going to be needed. This recipe is as close as I’ve managed (so far) to get to a wheat flour pizza dough. It makes enough for 12 small pizzas, or 4 decent size ones. Mix 500g gluten-free bread flour (I use Doves Farm) with 15g gluten-free yeast and 15g fine salt. Pour in 300ml tepid water and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Form into a ball, then knead on a floured surface for 5/6 minutes (it doesn’t need as much kneading as there’s no gluten to get working). Cover with cling film and leave to prove for an hour or so. It won’t rise as much as wheat-based doughs, so don’t panic if it doesn’t double in size. You want to cook your pizza as hot as your oven goes; when hot, roll balls of dough into thin discs, place on baking tray dusted with polenta and top with chosen topping. Cook for 10 mins or until crisp.
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