Posts Tagged ‘num nums’

Gluten free mince-pies

My quest to find recipes that all my friends can eat continues.  The sweet almond pastry gives a real indulgent ‘Marzipan’ richness to the mince pies.

Apologies also that I’m about 5 weeks too late publishing this. You can always save it till this Christmas!

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 100g/4oz Ground Almonds
  • 200g/8oz Rice Flour
  • 50g/2oz Caster sugar
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 100g/4oz Butter
  • 2 tbsp Clear Honey
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • Almond Essence

For the filling

  • 1 jar of mincemeat (approx 454g)
  • 1 apple
  • Brandy or rum

Method

  1. Mix together  the ground almonds, flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Make a well in the middle and put in the butter, honey, egg yolk and almond essence. Mix to a dough. Knead until smooth.
  3. Wrap the pastry in cling film and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before rolling out.

Tip: This pastry can be really crumbly, I found that rubbing a little olive oil on my rolling pin worked much better than dusting with flour.

Mincemeat filling

Finely dice the apple, and mix with the mincemeat and a tablespoon or two of the booze.

Assembling the pies

Preheat oven to 200°C (gas mark 6, 180°C for a fan oven).

Roll the pastry out on a clean work surface to about 3mm thick. Cut circles with a cutter and line each pit in the tart case.

Fill the pastry lined pits about 2/3 full with the filling.

Cut extra circles to sit on top of each pie, and over brush with a little milk.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until richly golden.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They are still fab eaten warm (don’t burn your tongue!)

Note: The combination of ingredients in this pastry means they come out browner in colour than a regular mince-pie. Don’t worry, they are still delicious!

the salad days

I love this time of year, when we can really say goodbye to winter, and start enjoying the warm sun on our faces. Seeing the summer girls out in their vest tops and summer skirts is not bad either!

At this time of year, it can still be hard knowing what to cook, especially as when the evening draws in, it can get really chilly.

Here’s a couple of recipes for warm salads that make an ideal accompaniment to Roast Chicken, served with some home-made rolls or Ciabatta.

They are really easy, which is perfect for a lazy chef like me!

Courgettes with Basil and Lemon

  • 4 courgettes
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • Fresh basil – a good large handful
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Slice the courgettes in the round, the thickness of pound coins. Season with salt and pepper. Spritz with a little olive oil and either grill or fry until They start turning pale golden in colour.

Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice with a good glug of olive oil and roughly torn basil leaves in a serving bowl. 

As the courgettes are done, drop them into the bowl, making sure they get doused and tossed in the dressing.

Adjust seasoning and serve.

Serves 4-6

Roasted vegetable and chickpea salad

  • 1 aubergine, cubed
  • 1 butternut squash, de-seeded and cubed
  • 8 med-large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1x400g tin chickpeas, drained
  • Fresh basil – a good large handful
  • Moroccan spice mix (most supermarkets do a ‘rub’ or similar)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200°C (gas mark 6).

Put the aubergine, squash and tomatoes in a roasting tin and drizzle with oil. Roast for about 45 minutes.

In a serving bowl, mix together the chickpeas, whole basil leaves, a good glug of oil and 2 teaspoons of Moroccan spices.

When the veggies are golden and the tomatoes well and truly melted, stir into the chickpea mix.

Adjust seasoning, and serve.

Serves 4-6

‘Never fail’ Roast Chicken

ChickenOkay, 2 posts I’ve mentioned my Roast Chicken, so maybe I should write a little about what’s so great about it.

Chicken is the cheap meat in a nugget, filler in a creamy pasta dish, drumsticks in a BBQ ‘value’ pack. And don’t get me started on Popcorn chicken…

…but chicken is so much more than that, and it’s so undervalued.

Chicken is a very social meat, and so easy to share. You have people who don’t like red meat at all, so chicken is great for them. Then you have people who find Lamb too greasy, Pork too fatty or fibrous, Beef only edible the way they cook it (blue, rare, medium, sunny side-up – whatever). But chicken, everyone likes chicken one way – cooked. No-one asks for chicken rare, or with the fat cut off, no-one wants it ‘well-done’. Chicken. Cooked. Done.

And a whole Roast Chicken can be one of the most beautiful dishes, when given a little care, and being relaxed about it. It’s a real carnivore’s meat, all that pulling at flesh with fingers, and gnawing meat off the bone, popping the legs to suck the marrow if you’re so inclined …gorgeous. It’s also a great option for entertaining as a big chicken can easily feed 6 people (with leftovers for stocks and soups) – with enough choice of breast, thigh, leg and  ‘dark meat’ to cater for all tastes.

Except vegetarians, but they can sit over there. No, further. Further. There.

So, ‘never fails’ Roast Chicken (for which I am indebted to Nigel Slater).

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