Gluten Free British Pancakes/Crepes

British style pancakes filled with apple sauce and the less British maple syrup.

I’m pretty sure you can make gluten free British pancakes just by substituting a gluten free flour blend for wheat in a standard recipe, but many of those flour blends are a nutritional desert and disappointingly bland, in my opinion, which is why I like to use cashews in the batter.

These pancakes are similar to my galette recipe, except they’re slightly richer with the additional egg, slightly milder tasting due to swapping out the buckwheat flour for some sorghum, and slightly sweeter due to the reduced salt.

They make a great dessert to follow a galette entree, and both are good for casual entertaining as the pancake mixtures and filling options need to be made ahead, and people can gather, chat, and choose which fillings they’d like next, while watching the pancakes being made or even taking it in turns to have a go.

I like to make my pancake mix in the blender. Unlike wheat flour recipes, you don’t run the risk of making tough pancakes by over mixing/blending the batter because there’s no gluten to develop. If you don’t have a blender, then you’ll need to use the nut flour rather than the raw nuts, and little by little stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients which have been gathered in a large bowl.

Fillings to consider: Nutella; freshly squeezed lemon and sugar; apple compot.

  • 3 oz raw cashews (or cashew flour/meal)
  • 8 fl oz water
  • 2 oz sorghum flour
  • 2 1/2 oz potato/tapioca starch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps sugar

Into the blender, put the cashews and enough of the measured water to barely cover the cashews, and process until completely smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, and process until amalgamated, scraping down the sides if necessary.

Heat a griddle, or frying pan with low sides (I like cast iron), on medium low with a smear of oil. It should be hot enough such that when you flick water droplets off your fingers onto the oil, it should sizzle.

Pour about 1/4 cup (2 fl oz) of batter into the center of the pan, and quickly spread it as thinly as possible into a round with the back of a spatula or a traditional French T-shaped spreader. Once the bottom has browned lightly (1-2 mins), slip a spatula or pancake paddle under one edge of the pancake, flip it to cook the other side, and place any fillings on the top. Fold each side over the filling to make a roll, or fold like a traditional crepe: first into a semicircle, then fold in half again to form a 90 degree section.

Remove the pancake from the cooking surface for immediate eating, re-grease with a smear of oil, and start again with the next pancake for the next diner.


Low Fat Curry Base Sauce

Low fat curry base sauceI developed this recipe from my Curry Base Sauce recipe in the hopes that members of my family who are keeping an eye on their weight would be able to join in. It just so happens that this version is also quicker to make without any obvious reduction in flavour, though I would think it’s a bit less rich.

Initially, I tried making a low fat curry base just by ditching the fat, and I  made a couple of batches which got thrown away because they were bitter. In the original recipe, quite a lot of oil is used, and as the tomatoes cook the oil rises to the surface along with some bitter flavors which get skimmed off towards the end (yes, I did taste the froth – it was not good). Nothing rises to the top in this recipe, as there’s very little oil used, and the bitter flavor stayed in the tomatoes. It took a bit of detective work to figure out that the problem was with the fresh ginger, and once I’d substituted dried ginger for the fresh, I was in business again with making curries.

Coconut cooking oil spray or 1 tsp coconut oil

1 lb (1-1.5 large) onions, skinned and thickly sliced

1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp fennel
1/16 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp powdered ginger (not fresh!)

1 oz (just less than 1 bulb) fresh garlic, skinned and chopped
8 fl oz (1 cup) tinned tomatoes in juice

Heat the cooking spray in a medium sized saucepan.

Fry the onions over medium heat until starting to brown, stirring frequently.

Add the spices and garlic, and allow to heat through for a minute.

Add the tomatoes to the onions, add two cups of water, and  cook for 10-15 minutes until everything has softened.

Scrape all the ingredients into a blender, and process until smooth. Adjust consistency with water to make 40-48 fl oz (5-6 cups) of sauce, if necessary.

This can be stored in the fridge for several days, and is sufficient for ~3 recipes/meals. I use it for chana masala, korma, cauliflower dhansak, saag tofu.

Vegan Bean and Vegetable Chili

vegetarian-chiliI don’t use meat substitutes much. The vast majority of the meat substitutes that I’ve seen include gluten for texture, stretch and bulk. We recently happened upon some gluten free, tinned vegan chili which my husband loves for chili cheese fries, but it doesn’t have anywhere near enough vegetables in it for my liking. Yes, I know! Chili cheese fries is an indulgence, not a health food ….. but here we can leave the indulgence for the potatoes, and the chili can be loaded with veggies and fiber, and just look and taste the part.

I also know that Textured Soy/Vegetable Protein has a bad name. Somewhere in the dim and distant past I read about it containing chemicals that you don’t really want to be eating, so we haven’t had it. Upon a more recent review, however, I found that the chemicals are indeed used in the standard version of TVP (apparently removed before it’s sold …. uh huh), but the organic stuff doesn’t even get a whiff of those chemicals in the first place. Yes, it is more expensive, but if it means I’m happy we can eat it and I can widen the variety of food stuffs that I can eat, and I have yet another way to present veggies to my kids, then that’s the price I pay.

Serves 6-8

1 cup organic TVP/TSP
1 tbsp mushroom powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oil/margarine
1/4 of a large onion (1/2 cup), diced
1 lb mixed vegetables cut into <1″chunks (e.g. pepper strips, mushroom chunks, courgette/zucchini slices – quartered, tiny broccoli/cauliflower florets)
1 fresh jalapeños, finely minced or 1 tsp chili flakes
1 large clove garlic
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin OR 1/4 tsp caraway seeds (for a change)
1/4 tsp lemon juice
~14 oz diced tinned tomato in juice (this won’t look enough to start off with)
2 tbsp tomato paste OR minced sun-dried tomatoes
8 – 16 oz cooked, drained, pinto or black beans

Put the TVP, mushroom powder, and salt in a bowl, and stir in 1 cup of boiling water, and leave it to soak.

In a large pan, heat the fat and fry the onion and any hard vegetables (such as broccoli and cauliflower) for 5-10 minutes.

Once the onions have softened, add the garlic, and spices to them, and heat through for a few seconds, then add the remaining vegetables (except tomatoes) and cook for another 5-10 minutes until they too have started to soften.

Add the TVP, lemon juice, tomatoes, tomato paste, and beans, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the juice has thickened and the TVP has browned slightly.

Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve in flat breads, with rice, crusty bread, jacket/baked potatoes, or (of course), chunky cut potato fries/chips and a sprinkling of vegan cheese.

…. How it all started.

Hi! Welcome to my blog. I’m Sarah. I’m a Brit living in southern California with my husband and two daughters, and I have been fascinated with cooking ever since someone gave me my first cookery book when I was 17.

I’m vegetarian by choice (I turned vegetarian in the late 80s when I left home, and started to cook for myself). About 5 years ago, I realized that I had “issues” when I ate cheese; about 3 years ago I realized that my problems were related to dairy fat (my main source of fat at the time), not just any dairy, so my problem wasn’t with lactose (which is a sugar); and when I looked into that, the penny dropped with respect to gluten.

I’m now mostly symptom free, and determined to be able to cook everything that I used to be able to cook.

Note that although I’m a Brit, I live in America, and I cook with American units of measure. In England, there are 20 fluid ounces to the pint (which weighs 1.25 lbs), but in America, there are 16 fluid ounces to the pint (which weighs 1.0 lbs). I also use cup measures for many things because it’s faster. However, when baking with gluten free flours, I highly recommend using scales which are far more accurate and consistent. Conversely, the American cooks’ standard use of measuring spoons for teaspoons (1, 1/2, and 1/4) and tablespoons is invaluable when flavoring recipes with miso or nori etc., or using xanthan gum, which many gluten free baking recipes require.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have enjoyed them.