Garden fresh – brown rice soba noodles with courgettes and herbs

With Anna away in India for three weeks I have been pretty lazy on the cooking front and coping with quick fruit salads, smoothies and omelettes.  Today I decided to use up the last of the courgettes from the garden and garnished it with a combination of herbs (plucked fresh from our herb patch).  The end result is worthy of being replicated for Anna when she gets back as I think she will like it.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 80-90 gms Brown rice soba noodles (spaghetti if you are not on a gluten free diet)
  • 3-4 medium sized mushrooms sliced
  • 1 large stick of celery roughly chopped
  • 1 small yellow courgette cubed
  • 1 small green courgette cubed
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • Handful basil, mint, oregano and curly leaf parsley chopped for garnish
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

A hearty bowl for one

How do I make it?

Boil your noodles or pasta and keep aside.   Heat pan and add olive oil and garlic and saute for a minute.   Add the celery and saute for a couple of minutes before adding the courgettes and mushrooms.  Stir for 5 minutes before sprinkling the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Garnish with chopped herbs and add cooked noodles to the pan.   Toss around till the noodles are well coated and serve up in a large bowl.  Enjoy.

Gluten free bread

Since going on the Paleo diet Shiv and I have not touched bread in the last four months.  As I have been experimenting with gluten free baking of cakes and cookies I decided to give bread baking a shot.   The base recipe is borrowed from “The Best Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes” by Grace Cheetham with some tweaks.   We made some fresh mint and coriander chutney with a twist to go with it.

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Gluten Free Bread

What do I need to make it?

  • 450 gms gluten-free bread flour (we used Dove’s Farm)
  • 2 eggs
  • 350 ml almond milk
  • 1 tsp malt vinegar
  • 6 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp quick acting yeast
  • 3 tbsp mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame and sunflower)
  • 1 tbsp unrefined sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

How much will I make?

1 kg loaf (medium loaf about 12 slices)

How do I make it?

Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar.  Warm the almond milk and then beat eggs into it with the malt vinegar.  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and then add the milk mixture and mix into a sticky dough.  Add 2 tbsp of seeds and oil and continue to mix till all the ingredients are bound together.  Pour into a greased loaf tin and sprinkle remaining seeds on top and cover with moist cloth and  set aside for an hour to allow the dough to rise.  Place loaf in a pre-heated oven at 220 degree Centigrade for 40-45 minutes.  Crust should turn dark brown and centre cooked through (check with skewer to ensure it comes out dry).  Remove and cool loaf on wire rack before slicing.

Mint & Coriander Chutney

What do I need to make it?

  • Small bunch fresh coriander
  • Handful fresh mint leaves
  • 3 stalks of basil leaves
  • 2 sprigs of green onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 3 green chilies
  • 1 bird’s eye red chili
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp unrefined sugar
  • Salt to taste

How do I make it?

Place all ingredients in a blender and grind to a fine paste.  Add lime juice and adjust seasoning before serving.  This chutney can be used a marinade for barbecued fish/chicken or as an alternative salad dressing without oil.

Sublime supper

Regular readers of our blog would have noticed that I have not been writing very much these days and the husband’s offerings have been far more frequent. Well, I have not been cooking anything exciting with Shiv not around and have been making do with quick and easy meals as the kids have been rather demanding and I find myself too exhausted to pen my musings down at the end of the day.

Today I decided to cook myself and my mother a good supper.  You could call it a Mother’s day offering.  I baked a gluten free corn bread loaf, made a lovely cauliflower soup and a spicy chipotle dip for the bread.  The meal went down very well and my mother enjoyed it, just as I did.

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Gluten free corn bread

What do I need to make it?

  • 150 gms fine corn meal
  • 150 gms fine rice flour
  • 50 gms cold unsalted butter or dairy free margarine
  • 2 medium sized eggs
  • 300 ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp Xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

How much will I make?

A medium sized loaf

How do I make it?

Preheat oven to 200.C.   Sieve together rice flour and fine corn meal into a large mixing bowl.  Add the baking powder, salt and Xanthan gum to this.  Chop cold butter into small cubes and add to the bowl.  Use finger tips to rub the flour and butter into a crumb like consistency.  Beat the eggs and almond milk together lightly.  Make a well in the mixing bowl and pour the egg and milk mixture into it.  Mix well with a wooden spoon until all the flour is blended well and you get a smooth batter.  Pour the batter into a prepared loaf tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the crust is a golden brown.  Pierce with a skewer to check if the bread is cooked through.  If the skewer comes out with wet mixture stuck to it, keep the loaf in the oven till the bread is cooked thoroughly.

Leave to cool on a  wire rack .

Spicy Chipotle dip

What do I need to make it?

  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic grated
  • 2 to 3 pickled chipotle peppers (available in the World food aisles of most super markets or in Mexican delis)
  • 1 tsp of the chipotle pepper pickling liquid

How do I make it?

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender.  Adjust seasoning.  The pickled chipotle peppers do have salt so extra salt is usually not needed.

Cauliflower soup

What do I need to make it?

  • 250 gms cauliflower florets
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 gluten free vegetable stock cube (Kallo stock cubes)
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Two sprigs of parsley to garnish.
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper powder to taste

How much will I make?

2 large main meal portion

How do I make it?

Heat a pan and add butter and olive oil to it.  Add the bay leaf, onion and garlic and sauté till they are translucent.  Make sure not to brown them.  Add the cauliflower florets and sauté for a minute or two.  Season with salt and white pepper powder.  Add the almond milk and bring to a boil.  Turn the flame down and let it simmer till the cauliflower is cooked. Remove the bay leaf before blending to a smooth consistency.  Add about 250 ml of boiling water and the stock cube, return to heat and let the soup come to a boil.  Sprinkle the ground nutmeg and remove from the heat.  Garnish with parsley sprigs before serving.

Gluten free pasta with tomato and basil sauce

Ever since Anna & I have switched off wheat and gluten (lifestyle choice) our consumption of pasta has plummeted.  It wasn’t until recently that we tried gluten free pasta (made from rice and maize flour) and we quite liked it.  Contrary to popular belief that gluten free means tasteless – you can dispel this myth – it’s a lot lighter than normal pasta and the texture is slightly different but once mixed with a good sauce it is delicious.  Last night I prepared a tomato and basil sauce pasta with a medley of vegetables and finally garnished with some fresh basil grown in my sister’s garden (never expected to  find fresh herbs in a garden in Dubai!!).

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What do I need to make it?

  • 250 gms gluten free pasta of your choice
  • 500 ml tomato passata
  • 1/2 each yellow and red pepper – washed, de-seeded and cubed
  • small onion peeled and sliced
  • 5-6 baby corn cut into pieces
  • 7-8 closed cup mushrooms quartered
  • 7-8 broccoli florets
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
  •  4 tbsp sliced black olives
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 3-4

How do I make it?

Crush the garlic and red chili flakes in a pestle and mortar.  Boil and cook pasta with a little salt till done – strain and keep aside.

Heat big saucepan and add oil and garlic/ chili paste – fry for 30 seconds and then add onions and peppers.   Stir constantly for 5 minutes before adding remaining vegetables.  Cook for five minutes before sprinkling Italian seasoning, oregano, black pepper and salt.  Then add the tomato passata and cook for another 5 minutes – add some water if the sauce is too thick.  Once done adjust seasoning and add the pasta and give it a good mix.   Garnish with freshly chopped basil and serve hot.

Salad therapy – Italian nirvana

One of my key challenges on the trip away from home is my ability to stay true to the Paleo lifestyle.  Admittedly it has been tough and I have wavered and cheated a bit.  I enjoyed pulling together a mushroom and tomato sauce pasta accompanied with my all time favourite Italian salad – tricolore with a twist.  Traditionally tricolore is made with beef tomato and fresh mozzarella slices – I used cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls instead (I know cheese is not Paleo but then again my sister and family are not on the same journey are they!).   The pasta we had was gluten free (rice and maize flour) and every time I have it I feel it is lighter than traditional pasta – so even if you are not on a gluten free diet I urge you to give it a try – what’s the worst that could happen.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 10-12 mozzarella balls
  • 2 ripe avacados skinned and chopped into bite size cubes
  • Sprig of fresh basil chopped
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (buy some good salad oil tastes better)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4 as a side salad

How do I make it?

Place all ingredients in a salad bowl.  Sprinkle salt and pepper and the drizzle olive oil and lemon juice.   Mix together gently (don’t want guacamole) and serve.

Footnote:  

Anna and I are not Paleo purists and we make a conscious decision on the non Paleo foods we eat.  We are strict on gluten and wheat but fairly relaxed on other ingredients in moderation.  We have cut back on our rice consumption and as stated in previous blogs we do incorporate rice and maize flour in our diets once a week at best.

Gluten/Lactose Free Almond milk pancakes

I  have always struggled with breakfast as I do not have a sweet tooth and do not usually like something sweet for breakfast.   Our breakfast options have become rather limited after we started our gluten free journey.  I can no longer bolt down a slice of toast before rushing off to drop the kids off in school.  I have found a breakfast idea which I enjoy and can be made really quickly and the great thing about this is I can have a sweet or savoury option.

 What do I need to make it?

  • 1 ½ cup gluten free all-purpose flour (we use Dove’s Farm)
  • 1 tsp unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 250 ml Almond milk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Dash of vanilla essence (optional)
  • Butter or oil to grease the pancake while cooking (just a little)

How many will I make?

Around 8-10 small pancakes

How do I make it?

Whisk all the ingredients together to make a smooth batter.  Heat non-stick  frying pan and then pour a ladle of batter and spread evenly by moving the pan in a circular motion.   Add butter/oil around the pancake.  Serve the pancakes hot with a traditional maple syrup or fresh seasonal fruit.  Alternatively, chop up some overripe bananas and heat them through with a knob of butter and 2-3 tsp of honey (if allergic to honey buy a bottle of Agave nectar which is a fantastic alternative)  to get a warm banana compote.

For a savoury option, chop up some spring onion, a red Thai chilli, coriander leaves and a couple of tablespoons of sweet corn.  Drop all the ingredients in the batter before making the pancakes.