Gluten Free Teabread (Bara Brith)

Warm, slightly sweet; best served toasted and generously spread with melting margarine, and a good hot cup of tea. This recipe came into being when I was making almond bread and accidentally used sweet vanilla almond milk instead of the required unsweetened plain almond milk, so I had to add more sugar and fruit and nuts. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do ….. and daughter #2 took this on board, and ate over half the loaf that evening, presumably to prevent me from getting fat! Sweetheart.

For Bara Brith (a Welsh bread), substitute more dried fruit/ candied peel for the nuts, and soak them in tea for at least 1/2 an hour before using.

GF Teabread

Shown here with the minimal raisins and walnuts suggested in the recipe.

2 cups (8 oz) almond flour (preferably from blanched almonds)
1 cup (5 oz) tapioca flour
1/4 cup (1 oz) flax seed meal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup margarine
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tbsp yeast

4 large eggs
2 tsp wine vinegar
1/3 – 1/2 cup brown sugar or honey
3/4 cup (6 fl. oz) sweetened, vanilla almond milk

1/2 – 1 cup raisins
1/2  – 1 cup walnut pieces

Put all the dry ingredients together in a food processor, and the wet ingredients in a measuring jug. Start processing. Gradually (over a period of about 10 seconds) pour most of the wet ingredients into the processor (hold back the last fluid ounce or two if the batter seems too wet), and process for about 3 minutes, scraping down occasionally if required. Adjust consistency after a minute or two with additional liquid if necessary. (The flax meal takes about this amount of time to absorb liquid and thicken the mixture.)

Gluten Free Bread Dough Consistency

Dough Consistency

Stir the raisins and walnuts into the batter.

Turn the mixture into a medium loaf pan lined with parchment paper.

Leave to rise for about 30 minutes.

Cook for 60 minutes in the middle of the oven at 360F, lightly covered with tin foil to prevent over browning.

Allow to cool before slicing. This is particularly good toasted and smothered with melted margarine, accompanying a piping hot cup of tea.

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Almond Fruit Crumble

Crumble is a dessert that I have always known. My mother used to make it. My husband’s mother used to make it. Company visiting at short notice, or student friends round for a feast? Pizza and apple crumble (different plates)!

Up until a few years ago, of course, the crumble had a wheat based topping, but going gluten free has actually improved the recipe! That’s not something that can be said of most dishes. The improvement is in the wicked marzipan undertones of the topping. In comparison, the original recipe is a little under-flavored.

It freezes well (I usually freeze it after cooking) or can be put together in no time flat for unexpected company. The topping can also be made and frozen in advance, ready to top the fruit when ready. This serves about 6 – 8 people. For lots of company, multiply up the quantities and bake in a deep, appropriately sized lasagna dish.

Apple and Cherry Almond Fruit Crumble served with Almond Milk Custard.

Apple and Cherry Almond Fruit Crumble served with Almond Milk Custard.

8 oz blanched almond meal
1 1/2 oz (3 tbsp) Earth Balance margarine
2 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) white or brown sugar
2 tbsp slivered almonds for garnish (optional)

1 – 1 1/2 lbs prepared fruit (e.g. 8 oz Chunky Apple Sauce and 8oz Frozen Wild Blueberries, or jarred cherries, or cooked rhubarb, or mixed berries)

Put the flours and margarine in a food processor and pulse to combine (or use a pastry wire). Note that the flour and fat need to be combined before the sugar is added.

Stir in the sugar.

Put the fruit in a medium sized oven proof dish to a depth of about 1 – 2″, and pile the topping loosely on top to a depth of about 1 – 2”, and lightly compress.

Decorate top with slivered almonds, if desired.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned, at 350F.

Serve with plain or vanilla non-fat soy yoghurt or custard or cashew pouring creme.

Mushroom Soup

'Creamy' mushroom soup with gluten free almond/quinoa garlic bread

‘Creamy’ mushroom soup with gluten free almond/quinoa garlic bread

I’ve been cooking up quite a few things this week, but I’ve failed to get them on to the blog, yet. Quite a bit of time was taken up making blood orange marmalade (it being that time of year). Marmalade making can be quite time consuming, so lunch today was a quick to make, warming mushroom soup. Elegant if presented as such, I’ve been making this soup for years, now. The cashews were a recent substitution for the dairy free cream cheese, as I think they have a better nutritional profile, and they do add body as well as richness to the soup.

However, for a less calorific version, use cooking oil spray instead of the margarine or olive oil; use vegan cream cheese instead of the cashews (mine has 90kcals/oz); and use water instead of the non-dairy milk for a total recipe calorie count of 648kcals which is 100kcals per 8floz, or 162kcals per serving.

Serves 4

1 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine OR 1 tbsp olive oil OR zero calorie cooking spray
6 oz (1 medium or 1/2 large) onion, chopped
~12oz potato, chopped (or ready cooked and peeled)
1 lb mushrooms, halved or quartered
1 tbsp dried thyme (2 tbsp of fresh thyme) – don’t stint on this.
16 fl oz water OR plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (rice milk for a standard version; soy milk for a richer one)
2 oz (1/2 cup) raw cashews OR 2 oz vegan cream cheez
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4  tsp pepper (or to taste)

Heat the margarine in a large pan and sauté the onion until transparent.

Add the mushrooms and sprinkle on half a tsp of the salt to help release the juices.

Once the mushrooms have turned a darker color and softened, add the potato, the herbs, 16 fl oz (2 cups) of water, and the cashews (if using); bring to the boil, cover and cook until the potatoes are cooked (at least 10 minutes).

Add the vegan cream cheez (if not using cashews) and 16 fl oz non-dairy milk (or water), and blend as briefly as possible, but long enough to ensure the cashews have blended into a smooth soup.

Adjust consistency with more water, as desired.

Add salt and pepper to taste, serve hot.

Tofu Quinoa Cakes

These patties are not the sort to put in a burger bun. They have a mild flavor, an interesting ‘skin’, and a creamy internal texture. Try adding the sea weed (nori), if you want to get a mild marine flavor, and serve with tartar sauce. I’ve also made them without the nori, and served them up with a thick mushroom sauce made by reducing the water in rich mushroom soup. The girls both liked these served up with oven chips and tartar sauce. Note that freezing the tofu alters the texture, so you might not want to do that.

Quinoa Tofu Burgers with dairy free tartar sauce and oven fries.

Quinoa Tofu Burgers with dairy free tartar sauce and oven fries.

1/2 oz (~1 cup) dried shiitake mushroom
2 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) raw cashews
2 tsps Earth Balance margarine
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
12 – 14 oz packet of extra firm tofu, drained and well squeezed
1/4 – 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 – 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 – 3 tsp ground nori (optional)
3 tbsp Braggs Aminos (gluten free soy sauce)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup fine ground cornmeal
canola oil for shallow frying

Place the dried mushrooms into a large mug with the cashews on top (to keep the mushrooms from floating) and pour enough boiling water over the top to cover. Leave to soak for 1/2 hour.

Melt the margarine in a large frying pan over a medium heat, and gently sauté the onion until lightly browned (~5-10 minutes).

Finely chop the garlic cloves, and add to the onion.

Drain the mushrooms and cashews, then put them into the food processor and pulse until a coarse paste has been formed.

Drain the tofu, then squeeze between two plates, tilting them over a sink to drain off excess moisture.

Add the tofu, nori (if using), Braggs, garlic powder, onion powder, 1/2 the onions, and a dash of black pepper to the food processor. Briefly combine. The mixture should not be smooth at this point; it should have a consistency much like cooked quinoa: not too lumpy, and not too smooth.

By hand, stir in the remaining cooked onion and the quinoa.

Divide the mixture into 8 even sized pieces and form each into patties.

Tip the cornmeal into a bowl or onto a work surface, and dredge each of the patties in it.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and fry the patties (four at a time) until golden brown on each side.

Serve hot.

Broccoli and Orange Salad

Orange season is just starting here. The oranges are still quite tart, but that just makes them quite exciting to eat, and great for making marmalade. I was ambling through my list of developing recipes on my computer, looking for recipes with oranges in them for lunch, when I came across this salad. Last year when I’d made it, I’d used mayonnaise made the traditional way (i.e. it was an emulsion), and the dressing never lasted very long before turning from a thick, rich, topping, to a thin liquid in the bottom of the salad bowl. I was pretty sure that the inclusions were breaking down the mayonnaise’s emulsion, so today I tried the dressing with tofu mayonnaise (with no emulsion to destroy). I shall endeavor to rid myself of the smug feeling as soon as possible, and get the recipe for the tofu mayonnaise on the blog.

Broccoli and Orange Salad

4 oranges
12 oz very small broccoli florets (no more than ~1” in any direction)
1/2 cup tofu mayonnaise
2 tsps sugar or to taste (this depends on how sweet your oranges are)

Lightly steam the broccoli florets in salted water such that they still retain some of their crunch (1 – 2 minutes). Leave to drain thoroughly in a colander. If you don’t, the dressing will go thin.

Juice two of the oranges and boil the juice until reduced to 1/4 of original volume and syrupy.

Stir the reduced orange juice into the mayonnaise, and check flavor. Add sugar if needed.

Peel the remaining oranges and cut the flesh into 3/4” chunks.

Mix the broccoli and orange chunks together, and drizzle the orange mayonnaise over the top.

(Boston) Baked Beans

boston baked beans

Boston Baked Beans served in a bowl of garlic mashed potatoes.

When thinking about gluten free diets, the temptation is to focus on replacements for bread, pasta, cakes, and such like, so when I include naturally gluten free foods in the blog, I sometimes feel a bit sheepish. However, I’ve been making Boston Baked Beans for far longer than I’ve been interested in making gluten free bread, because they’re such a good staple, and they are gluten free, so I hope you enjoy them! In actual fact, I’ve included two recipes, below. For Boston Baked Beans, the sauce is chunky. For regular baked beans, blend the sauce with some non-dairy cream cheez until completely smooth before adding to the beans.

If you’re not used to cooking beans from scratch, don’t get fazed. It’s really straight-forward: Clean the beans. Soak the beans. Cook the beans. Add the beans to the other ingredients. Most of the time is spent doing other things while the beans do their thing under water.

1 lb (2 cups) dried navy or great northern beans (or other small, white bean)
1 medium onion, diced
2 tsps oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4 tbsp brown sugar (use white sugar for standard baked beans)
1 tbsp honey mustard (check for gluten!)
3 tbsp black strap molasses
1 x 28oz tin of tomatoes (Doesn’t look like enough to start off with, but it is – once it’s cooked.)
1 tbsp fresh thyme OR 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1-2 tsps salt
(1 oz vegan cream cheez for standard baked beans, omit for Boston Baked)

Check the beans over for debris and damaged beans to be discarded, then rinse them.
Put the beans in a pressure cooker pan or large saucepan, with water to cover them by about 2 inches; bring to the boil; turn off the heat; cover, and leave to soak for an hour or until a bean can be split in half with your finger nail, and appears to be the same color all the way through. Soaked bean

Drain the beans, and rinse them. (This makes them less gassy for those folks who don’t eat beans frequently.)

Return the beans to the pot with enough clean water to cover by about 1/2”. If you don’t use a pressure cooker, you’ll need to add more water either at the beginning, or as the cooking continues. Aim to have the water remain above the level of the beans throughout the whole process.

In a pressure cooker, bring the beans up to pressure, turn off the heat, leaving the pan in place, and allow to come down from pressure naturally.

If you’re just boiling the beans in a regular pan, cover with a tight fitting lid, and simmer for about an hour (this may be more depending on how old the dried beans are), checking the water level once in a while.

Cook beans until tender but not disintegrating. They won’t soften further after the addition of the other ingredients, no matter how long you boil. Any slight crunch will be obvious, and the beans won’t be a pleasure to eat, so taste one to check! If you’re using the pressure cooker, just boil the beans conventionally, if they’re still not quite soft enough when they come down from pressure.

Sauté the onion in the oil until soft.

Add the garlic to the onion, and warm through for a minute before adding all the other ingredients (except the beans).

If making standard baked beans, now put all the sauce ingredients into the food processor (or use an immersion blender) and blend. Pass the sauce through a sieve or chinois, if available, but you can skip this step, if not.

For both kinds of beans: Drain the beans; add the sauce to beans, and simmer for 30 minutes until the beans have taken up the flavor and color.

Serve hot with baked potatoes, or on almond bread toast, or under a cobbler topping.

Chickpea Gravy

This is my de-gluten-ized, simplified, and tweaked take on a ‘Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy’ from Iza Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan with a Vengeance. I thought it might be a bit too vegan-esque for my husband, but apparently I was wrong (to the extent that I now make this every Sunday). The girls have also had it numerous times (without the cumin) over mashed potatoes (white, and sweet potatoes on another occasion), and it went down a storm. I managed to slosh 1/2 a glass of white wine in it on New Year’s eve, and that was rather good too.

The quantities here should serve 4, if folks aren’t drinking the stuff!

Make sure the chickpeas are soft before adding them; some brands of tinned chickpeas are a little too crunchy.

2 tsps Earth Balance margarine or oil
1/2 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin (optional – gives a slight curry flavor)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup (1 oz) almond flour
1 tin garbanzo beans / chickpeas, drained
1-2 tbsp Braggs (or other gluten free soy sauce/tamari)
1/2 – 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
1 tbsp chickpea miso
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Gently sauté the onion in the fat until softened.
Add the garlic, and warm through for a couple of minutes.
Stir in the cumin (if using), nutritional yeast, almond flour, and garbanzo beans.
Once the almond flour has absorbed the Earth Balance, gradually stir in 1 cup (8 fl oz) of water.
Stir in the lemon juice, Braggs (or other gluten free soy sauce), chickpea miso, and pepper.

Chunky chickpea gravy with garlic mashed potatoes and seared sweet cider carrots.

Chunky chickpea gravy with garlic mashed potatoes and seared sweet cider carrots.

Partially or fully blend with an immersion blender.
Adjust thickness – up to another 1/2 cup (4 fl oz water), and seasonings, if necessary.