Gluten free pineapple upside down cake

We have long been wanting to bake this cake but invariably defaulted to making something that had been tried and tested.  As we were expecting guests for lunch on New Year’s day we decided to take a chance and bake this cake for dessert.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 250 gm gluten free self raising flour
  • 250 gm soft butter
  • 150 gm light moscavado sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 5 pineapple rings
  • 15 glazed cherries

How much will I make?

12″ round tin

How do I make it?

Grease and line cake tin with parchment paper – pre heat oven to 180 degree.   Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer before adding the eggs, vanilla extract and milk.   Keep mixing for a few minutes before adding the flour and baking powder.   Continue till you get a nice glossy mixture.   Spread the base of the cake tin with golden syrup – layer the pineapple rings with glazed cherries in the middle of each pineapple ring.  Pour in the cake mixture and bake in oven for and hour to an hour and fifteen minutes till cake is done.   Remove and turn the cake over so the pineapple rings are on top.   Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.

 

Italian flavoured casserole

Off all the casseroles we have pulled together over the last month, this has to be our favourite only to be matched by the Creole/Mexican flavoured dish we made earlier.  The weather continues to go from bad to worse and this Saturday was no exception – non stop rain from dawn to dusk coupled with a definite bite in the air.  We decided to make a hot comforting casserole for dinner and as promised earlier we were going to experiment with Italian flavours in our next casserole, so here’s the recipe for it.  Our next challenge given to us by one of Anna’s friends is to develop an Indian themed casserole – stay tuned…

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What do I need to make it?

  • 500 gms boneless chicken thighs (6-8 pieces)
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 small shallot chopped
  • 1 medium leek sliced
  • 1 courgette cubed
  • Handful of green beans chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 5-6 baby potatoes halved
  • 6-8 button mushrooms quartereded
  • 8 cloves of garlic – 3 chopped for marinade
  • 400 gm tin of cannelini beans drained
  • 400 gm tin of barlotti beans drained
  • 400 gm tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 tbsp oilve oil
  • Few sprigs of fresh basil and parsley chopped to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

First marinade the chicken thighs with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of crushed red chilli flakes, 3 chopped garlic cloves, chopped shallot and salt – set aside for a few hours.   Heat your oven proof casserole dish and sear the chicken pieces on both sides and remove.   Add remaining olive oil, garlic and rosemary to the same dish and stir for 30 seconds before adding sliced onions and  leeks – stir for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining vegetables.  Sprinkle 1 tsp Italian seasoning, l tsp crushed red chilli flakes and the stock cubes – add about 500 ml of water and stir.  Stir in the cannelini beans, borlotti beans and chopped tomatoes.  Place chicken on top of the vegetables, cover with lid and place the casserole in a pre-heated oven at 200 degree Centigrade for an hour or till the chicken is cooked through.   Garnish with chopped fresh basil and parsley.

 

Spicy pancakes and prawn salad with coconut sambal

Having made some fresh coconut sambal for dinner last night we were trying to find ways to use the leftovers in our meals today.   We first used it this morning to spice up some pancakes and finished off the remaining sambal with a spicy prawn salad.  We have posted the recipe for the prawn salad in an earlier blog.   Once the prawns (marinated in blackened cajun seasoning) were cooked we added 2 heaped tablespoon of the sambal and served it on bed of rocket and ripe mango.  We’ve added the recipe for the pancakes below if you prefer savoury options for breakfast versus sweet.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 3/4 cup chestnut flour
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp sambal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt to taste

How many will I make?

Around 6-8 pancakes depending on size

How do I make it?

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk in the egg and milk till the batter coats the back of your spoon.   Add in the sambal and give it a good mix.  Cook pancakes on both sides with a knob of butter and serve it with some Thai sweet chilli sauce (works really well).

Parsley chutney

In the South of India you get two different varieties of chutneys – either one with fresh ground ingredients or the cooked type.   We tried using parsley as the core ingredient for a cooked chutney and were pleasantly surprised with the outcome.   The taste is slightly unusual at first as parsley is not a native Indian herb but after the first few mouthfuls your taste buds get used to it and it is quite enjoyable.

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What do I need to make it?

  • Large bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped with stalks
  • 3 tbsp split urad dahl
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • Piece of asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

A cereal bowl full

How do I make it?

First heat a tablespoon of oil and temper the urad dahl, red chilli and asafoetida till the dahl changes to a golden brown colour.  Cool and dry grind the ingredients to a powder.   Heat a pan and add a tablespoon of oil and then add the chopped parsley and cook for five to ten minutes till the parsley has wilted and cooked.   Transfer the cooked parsley into a blender and add the tamarind paste and a bit of salt and blend to a paste.   Place paste in a bowl and then add the powdered ingredients till it is full incorporated into the paste.   Enjoy with plain boiled rice or as a spread on toast.

Salad therapy – fennel and apple salad

We tried pulling together this salad for the first time having watched many a Masterchef judge and Jamie Oliver extolling its virtues.  We must agree that this combination of core ingredients works – the dressing can be personalized but the net result is a delicious light salad.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 fennel bulb shaved using a mandolin
  • 1 Granny Smith apple cored and cut into match sticks
  • Handful of walnuts

For the dressing

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4 side salads

How do I make it?

Whisk all the dressing ingredients in a bowl till you get a nice emulsion.  Place shaved fennel, chopped apple and walnuts in a large bowl and pour the dressing over it.   Use your hands to gentle toss the salad and portion into bowls.  Enjoy.

Creole/Mexican inspired casserole

Here’s a recipe for a scrumptious Creole/Mexican inspired casserole using one of our favourite cupboard essential spice – Scwartz Blackened Cajun seasoning.   Initially we were apprehensive with the heat intensity but were pleasantly surprised how mellowed the dish turned out.  We had it for lunch yesterday on its own but think the dish would work well with a bowl of rice.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • 6 potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 8 mushrooms halved
  • 1 green pepper cut in large pieces
  • 1 stick of celery  chopped
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of frozen or canned corn
  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans (pressure cook if not using tinned variety)
  • 1/2 cup black eyed peas (as above)
  • 8-10 baby onions peeled (we used a combination of baby white onions and small Indian red shallots)
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp pickled green jalapenos
  • 3 tbsp pickled red jalapenos
  • 3 tbsp Schwartz Blackened Cajun seasoning
  • 2 gluten free chicken stock cubes
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli paste
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Big handful of fresh coriander chopped

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Wash and dry the chicken thigh fillets and marinade with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and Blackened Cajun seasoning.    Let the chicken marinade for as long as you can – we cooked it after an hour.  Heat a cast iron casserole and brown the chicken thighs.  Remove chicken and add remaining oil to saute the whole onions, celery, green pepper and garlic for a couple of minutes.   Add the potatoes, carrots and mushrooms and continue sauteing for a couple of minutes before adding  the jalapenos and chipotle paste.    Give it a good stir before adding the stock cubes, 600 ml of water, the corn, kidney beans, black eyed peas, chicken thighs and half the chopped coriander.  Cover the casserole and cook in pre-heated oven at 190 degree for an hour.   Remove and check that most of the water has evaporated before garnishing with the remaining coriander.   Serve hot with a nice crusty bread of choice or a bowl of rice.

NB:  The Blackened Cajun seasoning has salt so you shouldn’t have to add any more – if you are using any other brand check the ingredient list.

Salad therapy – Mediterranean delight

One can argue whether it’s Greek or Turkish influenced but the bottom line is we have hit upon a wicked dressing for our Mediterranean inspired salads moving forward.  One of our cupboard or fridge essentials is Tahini paste (ground sesame seed paste).  It allows us to make our own humus and mutabal at home and now a third use as a core ingredient in a salad dressing.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 tbsp Tahini paste
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Dresses 2 main salad portions or 4 side portions

How do I make it?

Dead simple – whisk all the ingredients in a bowl and pour over some mixed salad leaves, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and cucumber (FYI – tomatoes and cucumber from our garden :-)).  Would have added some olives but didn’t have the queen olives we love in our salads.