Welcome to my first gluten free challenge. The day started with me making sure I had all the recipes ready and a shopping list that had everything on it – I’m terrible for making a list and then buying everything that isn’t on the list, so this time I was determined, and like a proper ‘grown-up’ I went shopping (I still don’t feel the term ‘grown-up’ applies to me yet… happy in my own denial). So, off we went to buy everything. And, for once the supermarket had EVERYTHING.
Except Pumpkins. Are you kidding me?! It’s Halloween weekend?! Seriously, nothing, not in all THREE supermarkets we went to… so I got creative and bought sweet potatoes from the Chinese supermarket – they are the best ones as they’re purple in colour on the outside and whitey-purple on the inside. If you can get hold of some, do it! And, with my purple sweet potatoes, I made Sweet Potato Puree for one of the recipes to counteract the lack of pumpkins AND pumpkin puree (anyone would think it wasn’t Halloween…) But wait, ‘What about the obligatory pumplin carving?’ I hear you cry – We carved peppers! Hells yeahhh! Pics at the end of this post!!
Once we’d been shopping, I got all the ingredients set out on the side in the kitchen (yes, that is a Pimm’s chopping board in the background – gotta sort out the priorities and having a designated Pimm’s board is definitly one of them… naturally…):
The first recipe I’m going to introduce you to is the Pumpkin Scones, which we will now refer to as the Pumpk-tato Scones as this is the recipe I had to substitute Pumpkin Puree for the Chinese Sweet Potatoes.
First, you need to peel and cube one small sweet potato, boil it for 20 minutes or until soft, then drain it and set the potato into a small bowl and place into the fridge. This will be the basis of your Sweet Potato Puree and it is best for the potato to be as cold as possible before making it, so you need to do this first! Once the potato is cold (about 30 minutes in the fridge, so see which other things you can prepare, or just do this at the beginning and the puree right before you need it… to be honest the potato can stay in the fridge overnight if you really want to be organised?) you just need to blend the potato with a hand blender and a tbsp of milk until you have a really smooth puree which you can set aside until you need it – couldn’t be easier. Just make sure you don’t have hungry housemates around who want to eat the puree before you’ve used it!
Although, if you’re lucky enough to track down some pumpkin puree, then by all means, use that! And please let me know where it was bought from. I know Whole Foods sell it, but i’m not near enough to one to pick it up! Rubbish!
Back to the recipe… This recipe is on the Tenley Molzahn website, so i’m not going to post it up here or take credit for it, but I have done an outline of the ingredients as some ingredients I had to use alternative and some are called different names, if, like me, you’re making this recipe in the UK and some of the ingredients are not available over here. The original and the alternative are posted below (orig. – bold, mine – regular).
I’ll also post a link to the page (you need to scroll down a bit on the recipe page, but it’s definitely on there!)
You’ll find the recipe under – ‘Pumpkin Scones Just Like Starbucks’ (this is exciting for me as we don’t get the Pumpkin Scones over here, so not only is this a gluten free recipe, it’s also a new taste for me! Win!)
My direct to the original recipe:
2 cups Gluten Free all-purpose flour – I ended up using about 2.5 Gluten Free Plain Flour as the mixture was not quite dough-like when I stuck to these quantities
7 Tablespoons sugar – Caster sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder – Gluten Free Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt – Same
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon – Same
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg - Same
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves – I didn’t have any ground cloves, so chose to leave this out
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger – Same
6 Tablespoons cold butter – I used dairy free margarine
1/2 cup canned pumpkin – 1 small sweet potato pureed (I’ve explained how to do this above)
3 Tablespoons half-and-half (I used fat free) – I used sour cream, but you could use quark or creme fraiche for this
1 large egg – Same
Sugar Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup AND 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar – Icing sugar
2 Tablespoons whole milk – I used semi-skimmed milk as I can’t tolerate whole milk, but if you can, go for it, or use soya or rice milk
*I used Non-fat milk and it didn’t turn out as thick, but It was still tasty!
Spiced Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup AND 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar - Icing sugar
2 Tablespoons whole milk - I used semi-skimmed milk as I can’t tolerate whole milk, but if you can, go for it, or use soya or rice milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon – Same
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg – Same
1 pinch ginger – Same
1 pinch ground cloves – Again, I didn’t use this ingredient, but feel free to add it in!
Here are my pictures of the scones before and after being baked and iced:
A different Naan Bread from my own recipe
This recipe was one the boyfriend found in Shortlist magazine, a great magazine handed out in London for free. I think it’s kind of a male-version of Stylist magazine meets Wired magazine with a few cooking tips in there – probably for survival if the audience is male-orientated? Basically, it’s a great magazine, so if you get the chance to get a copy, do it, it really isn’t a male magazine in the sense of laddish-humour and techno-jargon, it’s actually pretty interesting, and, it provided me with the opportunity to try out a different Naan bread recipe.
The recipe comes from top Indian chef Cyrus Todiwala, who has more delicious curry recipes for you to try out at: Curry.simplybeefandlamb.co.uk So head here if you fancy an alternative to my Dal recipe, or, if like us, you decide to cook up another curry and make a night of it, then use mine and one from the website! If you make too much, just freeze it and have it another night when you need a quick meal.
A little note – there is a TWO HOUR resting period for the oh-so-delicate speciman that is the Naan bread dough in which the dough has to be placed in an ‘ambient atmosphere’ (cue hilarity ensuing in the kitchen as we try to think of the most ambient place for the dough- option 1) turn off all music and cook in silence, option 2) naan bread sits in my bedroom and chills for a while, while I slave away over a hot stove (who do I think I am?!) or option 3) naan bread sits in noisy, hot kitchen and gets a grip of itself..) So, of course the naan bread got it’s own precious room, as I didn’t dare risk noisy naan or silent kitchen – neither appealed…
Here’s the ‘recipe’:
I put ‘recipe’ in inverted commas as there isn’t an ingredients list, it’s one of those where you realise the main ingredient is one you don’t have, so i’ve listed the ingredients here with my additions/tips in bold:
2tsp oil (extra-virgin rapeseed)
500g Gluten Free self-raising flour.”
150g Greek yoghurt
100ml full-fat milk - I used semi-skimmed milk as I can’t tolerate whole milk, but if you can, go for it, or use soya or rice milk
Another tablespoon of oil
The recipe calls for – toasted cumin seeds, fresh coriander and mint, or minced garlic but I used 2 tbsps fresh corriander, 1 tsp dried mint and 2 cloves of garlic and blended them all in a food processor for the topping.
Here are the photos of my process of making the Naan Breads. I found this was a brilliant recipe and – YEAST FREE! So for any of you that need to find yeast free recipes, then this one is perfect! I think you could add in fresh corriander or other spices into the dried mix, although in my opinion they tasted amazing without this as the corriander and garlic on top of the bread was enough flavour:
This is MY FIRST TIME of making Lentil Dal and ohmylife I was scared… what with soaking the lentils and having to get the flavours just right but not being able to taste properly until everything was fully cooked and making sure the taste was the right level of spice vs. sweetness… Oh and added stress – the boyfriend said to me when I announced I was cooking Dal that his dad cooks it. Oh life, this is the hardest thing – when someone you are cooking for already has an idea in their head of how it should taste, but which you have never tried OR cooked…
Well… let’s just say I got myself completely worked up over nothing!
Firstly – super-easy to make, the Ghana Dal (the lentils specifically needed for Dal) I actually managed to find in Asda (for £1.00!!!) only needed cooking for 30-40 minutes, so this was the perfect amount of time to get the Naan breads to the dough-resting stage.
Secondly – the taste was easy to tweak/alter towards the end as, the herbs and spices could be added to and, if like me, you live with people who don’t like too much spice, and you’ve made the Naan breads, you should have 50g of greek yoghurt left, so stir this into the Dal when you add in the lentils and this will cool the taste down, but not too much!
Living in my house I have to not only consider food that has to be wheat and gluten free, I also have to make sure the food is vegetarian and not too spicy… so it’s all about balance and I think this has made me appreciate tastes and how something as simple as 50g of yoghurt can really balance out the taste that otherwise would have been too hot. This coupled with putting the Dal into a container and into the fridge overnight really helped the flavours mellow out a little and for the consistency to be a little thicker. So, either make the Dal the night before, or if you have leftovers (we did after serving four people as we made this and a creamy, coconut Korma so there was another portion left) and you made it fresh, just heat it back up, honestly, this will just keep getting better, and, lentils are amazing for you as they are full of protein and are gluten free.
I did a lot of research before making the Dal – you will see on my page where I told you what I was going to be cooking so you can click here and see other Dal recipes, if like me, once you’ve made this easy one, you want to try out some alternatives. But finally settled on the Tarka Dal from the wonderful Anjum Anand from Indian Food Made Easy. Read more about her here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/chefs/anjum_anand and find more of her amazing and mouth watering recipes – I love watching her cooking on telly-V, so it was brilliant to find such a fantastic recipe to work to for my first time cooking Dal. I have posted up my version below the link, so you can see the orignal and tweak it to your own tastes.
The original recipe:
My Dal recipe:
- 250g/9oz chana dal (yellow dried split peas), rinsed until the water runs clear
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp dried cumin
- 1 finely sliced small red onion
- 1 tsp (heaped if you like the heat) lazy chillies
- 1 tsp lazy ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole (I used home-grown garlic, but if you can, try to get some from a farmers market or use your own, it really is sweeter – I wasn’t convinced until I tried it, but it’s great, i’m currently on the hunt for some ‘Black Garlic’)
- 3 tomatoes
- ¾ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 50g Greek Yoghurt
- handful chopped fresh coriander leaves
- Rinse the lentils in fresh, running water and add to a pan that you have a lid for. Pour freshly boiled water over the lentils until they are covered in water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down the medium and place the lid on for 40 minutes (or until the lentils are softened). Keep adding more water over the cooking period to keep the water level constant, as it will evaporate. Once the lentils are cooked, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the oven. Then, leave the lentils in the pan, with the water on a pan-stand/heat proof mat/folded tea towel.
- While the lentils are cooking, put the oil into the pan and sprinkle in the cumin, add lazy chillies and lazy ginger and fry the ingredients for 2 minutes until the ginger starts to take on the cumin colour – the smells are amazing at this point! See photo 3 for how it should look below.
- Add the onion and fry for another 5 minutes on a low heat to soften up the onions.
- Chop the tomatoes into chunks and the garlic in half and pulse them using a hand blender, or, if you’re lucky enough to have a housemate who is equally as gadget obsessed as you are, use their hand blender with the little jug with a chopper inside it (god only knows what this is called?! But it’s genius and I want one… Do KitchenAid do one?… ahhh there goes the day-dreaming again…) Once pulsed, add the mixture to the pan and stir it all in (still on a low heat here).
- Finally, add in the remaining spices, followed by 100ml of water and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes.
- Once the mixture has simmered, whisk up the lentils using a fork (they may have clumped up a little) and add them, along with the water they were cooked in and the rest of the spices to the pan that is still slowly simmering away. Add in the yoghurt and seasoning to taste and your Dal is ready!
Feel free to add in more yoghurt is it’s too spicy for you, and a great thing to have on stand-by is a pot of sour cream when you’re serving the food. Put it in a bowl alongside some Mango Chutney and then everyone will be happy – I like giving everyone the option to tailor the food to their tastes, especially as I have a lot of them to deal with on a regular night of cooking!