Tuesday
Apr222014

Creamy Salmon Pate or 'Toast & Things' (gluten free, dairy free, egg free)

Personally, if I’m left to my own devices supper for me would be a series of things on toast.  So much so that I’m thinking of making a book of it: all the delicious bits and pieces you can eat; a nod to a collective ‘dish’ but served ‘en toast’(classy) for a kitchen-table kind of feel.  I think it plays to both my interest in eating ‘bits and pieces’ or mezze/antipasti/canapes as they are more internationally known, but with a leaning towards breakfast for supper, or ‘brupper’ as one of my friends renamed it.  I realise that if you’ve a large family, or frankly, one other person to cook for that doesn’t share your collective interest in things on toast, then the idea is a little limiting.  But occasionally, when you find yourself cooking for one, the joy of a fridge raid and the culmination of a cupboard search that ends in ‘toast and things’ for supper, is a simple joy to treasure.  Of course, for toast you will need bread, and if you are gluten and dairy and egg and yeast free, this can be a little problematic.  Fear not, this chickpea bread (simple, sturdy and delicious) is so easy to make and could provide toast for a whole week!  In fact, the chickpea bread is made for toasting: it turns a lovely golden colour, is nutty and fragrant and crunchy on the edges like a good, toasted sourdough.

I’d love to take you through my list of toppings, but frankly we would be here for days.  Needless to say, it’s all about flavour and quality, you want creamy and crunch: chicken, avocado and sundried tomato, hummus with roasted peppers and capers, cashew nut butter, alfalfa and mango.  Think colour, texture, vibrancy.  I like to stroll lovingly from savoury to sweet and sometimes encompass both together - for those of you that haven’t tried cashew nut ‘cream cheese’, honey and toasted walnuts on toast, you are missing out on a gem.  This pate is perfect for a supper of ‘toast and stuff’ and a rather marvellous thing in itself; it’s a creamy, buttery pate made velvety with the surprising inclusion of butter beans.  Once blitzed with a squeeze of lemon and a little oil they provide the most gloriously smooth and creamy texture that carries the rich smoked salmon perfectly.  It’s actually smart enough that you could serve it as a canapé or starter but I rather like the earthy decadence of a salmon and bean pate for supper, sliced cucumber, spring onions and avocado all make perfect additions.  For me, it’s a lovely relaxed supper, simply blitz all the ingredients together briefly and then slather liberally over your toast.  Heaven.

CREAMY SMOKED SALMON PATE

1 x 400g tin butterbeans, drained and rinsed

250g hot smoked salmon

1 ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil

The juice of ½ a lemon

A small bunch of dill or parsley

Place all of the ingredients bar the herbs into a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy.  If you think the pate isn’t coming together well you can add a dash of dairy-free milk of your choice, until it becomes smooth and creamy.  Add the fresh dill (or parsley) to the pate, pulse until combined and then scoop into a bowl ready to serve, or refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Thursday
Apr102014

Rhubarb & Apple Traybake (Gluten Free, Vegan, Dairy Free, Egg Free)

If you hadn’t noticed from all my tweeting and nudging and hinting...I’ve got a new book out!!  I’m so enormously proud of this (as I was my first) and I really, really hope you all love it too.  The emails, comments and messages I’ve had over the last few years have been incredibly inspiring and touching too.  I really hope that if I have done just a little to make living life with food intolerances just that bit easier, then I have done something of some value and if you can cook my recipes and then share them with your friends and family then I have achieved what I set out to.  Truly, thank you if you bought the first book and (ahem) thank you too for buying the second!  If you need any further incentive, then here’s a little bit about it...

Free-from Food for Family and Friends is cookbook dedicated to delicious gluten, dairy, egg, soy and yeast free recipes, and I when I say free-from I mean that every single recipe in this book is free from all of those foods.  For those that are new to my work I aim to show you how delicious free-from food can be.  I believe that embracing your food intolerances is the best thing you can do for both your mind and body.  Once you have moved past the struggle of feeling unwell and adjusting your diet, you will begin to feel healthier, happier and to realise the abundance of foods you can eat.  I promise you that there is not one recipe, dish or meal that cannot be adapted, created or bettered by making it intolerance friendly and this book aims to show you how.

My first book was divided into seasons, to show the natural and fresh abundance of foods available to us.  I still firmly believe in cooking by the seasons and cannot encourage you enough to look in your local markets and greengrocers to see what’s fresh and plentiful, but I also understand that day-to-day life is not always so simple and that family, work and increasingly fast pace of live can leave you with less and less time to cook.  But I also believe that cooking and eating is a bonding experience – a time for friends and family to come together which is why Free-from Food for Family & Friends is about food for all of the family, to enjoy at any time of the day, any day of the week and every day of the year.  From lazy breakfasts to quick lunches, al fresco summery food, fireside suppers, weeknight eating, family favourites, decadent and proper puddings and then celebratory food for the weekend, this book has it all! 

To get your taste buds going here’s a little treat from the book; I’m yet to make this without it disappearing almost straight from the oven, the roasted rhubarb lends a fragrant tang that balances out the almost caramel crust sweetness of the cake, made light and fresh from the apple puree baked within it.  It makes a wonderful afternoon indulgence with a pot of tea and friends and family, but you could also happily serve it as a homely pudding, a pouring of custard or a scoop of slightly tart coconut yoghurt (as seen here) to accompany it.  I shall leave that up to you but I promise both book and bake are a delight to behold!

RHUBARB AND APPLE TRAYBAKE

Makes 12 squares

You will need a 8 inch square baking tin for this recipe

 

200g golden caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra for roasting the rhubarb

100g apple puree

125ml sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

225g gluten free self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

400g rhubarb

 Preheat the oven to 180c and line the baking tin.

Trim the ends from the rhubarb and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Place on a roasting tray, scatter over the sugar and roast for 15 minutes until tender but still holding their shape.

Place the apple puree, sugar, oil and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and beat together until smooth and combined.  Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture until you have a smooth and thick batter.

Spoon the batter into the baking tin and smooth into the corners, levelling the top with the back of a spoon.  Scatter the rhubarb evenly over the surface of the bake and, using your fingertips, gently press the pieces down into the batter a little.  Bake for 45 minutes until golden and fragrant.

Remove from the oven and either serve warm with coconut yoghurt or custard, or leave to cool completely in the tin before cutting into squares.