Monday, 28 May 2012

Summer Dipping Sauce

We have been eating outdoors a lot in the hot weather we've had in the UK over the last week.  This has prompted a seasonal interest in dips and dippers.  Sous Chef J particularly likes such food as it means NO CUTLERY required!

So, having decided to look at our range of dip recipes, we went for a simple version of Marie Rose Sauce.

As ever, few ingredients are involved.  Sous Chef J found all the items we needed - mayonnaise, lemon, tomato puree and Tabasco (pepper sauce).

Placing a couple of tablespoons of mayo in a bowl together with about a heaped teaspoon of tomato puree, a good squeeze of lemon juice was added (the more lemon juice you add, the runnier the 'dip) and mixed well.  Then a healthy dash of Tabasco was added and stirred through.  Et voila.  Dip ready!

Next the dippers were prepared.  This time we had some spicy tortilla chips, chopped up peppers, cucumber, apple, tomatoes and cheese.  If you want you can also use prawns, crabsticks (although we don't these days as they aren't gluten free) and/or crisps.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Sticky Date and Walnut Cake with Maple Syrup Icing

This is a recipe from the Waitrose website that we printed out a L-O-N-G time ago.  Finally, today, we got around to making it.

Ingredients used were -
250g dates, chopped
150g butter, softened
100g soft brown sugar
4 Tbsp (60ml) maple syrup
250g Plain flour (we used Dove's farm gluten free)
2 eggs, beaten
1½ tsp baking powder (we used Dr Oetker gluten free)
1½ tsp mixed spice
50g walnuts, chopped
125g icing sugar, sifted

Having chopped the dates, they were placed in a bowl and covered with 150ml boiling water.  Whilst they were soaking, we prepared the rest of the ingredients and preheated the oven to 170C (fan).

The butter and brown sugar were beaten together until creamy.  Half of the maple syrup was added and mixed through.  Then, the flour and eggs were added a little at a time and fully incorporated.

After this, the mixed spice and baking powder was added and stirred through thoroughly.  Once this was done, we added the dates (and the soaking water) and two thirds of the chopped walnuts.  Again, the mix was thoroughly stirred.

The mix was then shared between metal baking tins which had been well greased.  A traybake tin, about 25cmx17cm, and a small loaf tin (10cmx7cm) were used. 

These were then baked in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes when they were tested using a knife to see if they were cooked through.  Once the knife came out clean, the tins were placed on a cooling tray and, after about 10 minutes, the cakes were removed and left to cool fully.

Whilst the cakes cooled, the icing was made by mixing the icing sugar, remainder of the maple syrup and a small amount of warm water to get a runny mix.  This was then drizzled over the cakes and the remaining chopped walnuts were sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Pasta Royale

When there's not much time and/or we're short on supplies there's a 'dish' we all like.  Amongst other things it is very quick to make as well. (Apologies to the easily terrified amongst you - Sous Chef J was making use of his newly found werewolf gloves and thought they added something to the above pic!)

So how did we make this simple dish?  Easy! We gathered together pasta (today we used Salute Gluten free spaghetti), frozen peas, frozen sweetcorn (or you can use drained corn from a tin), grated cheese, a knob of butter and some tomato ketchup.  Cooked the pasta per instructions... and 4 minutes before the boiling time was done, added the peas and sweetcorn (you can add both/one or none of these depending on supplies/likes). Brought the pan back to boil and then cooked for remaining pasta cooking time.

Once we drained the pasta/veg mix (we used a sieve) we added the butter to the cooking pan and swirled it around a bit to melt it before adding the now drained pasta/veg.  Then we mixed the melted butter through, added a handful of grated cheese (we used mature cheddar but parmesan works well too), a dollop of ketchup and some freshly ground black pepper.  Combined it all together and served.
This can be made dairy free by omitting the butter and cheese - in this case, use a little oil and some chopped and sweated garlic in place of them. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

Chicken Zorba

This recipe comes from a pal of ours.  She had a recipe card with it on but I have no idea where it came from originally.  It's basic and tasty and a good summer dish... although can, of course, be eaten throughout the year.

When we found some pitta bread in the Sainsbury's Free From aisle the other week, we decided to give this recipe a go as a gluten free option.  As ever, Sous Chef J gathered the ingredients.

500g chicken fillets (we used thighs) diced
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 limes, juiced
one small carton houmous

one small carton greek yogurt (we used a few spoons of home made natural yogurt)
Pitta bread parcels (we used Sainsbury's Gluten Free)
Tomato and cucumber salad to serve

We marinaded the diced chicken in the lime juice and spice mixtures for 20-30 minutes. We did this by combining the lime juice and the three spices in an old takeaway container, then adding the chicken pieces, adding the lid and shaking well.
Whilst the chicken marinaded, we prepared the salad and combined the houmous and yogurt to make a dip.
Once the chicken was ready to cook a tablespoon of oil was added to a frying pan and the chicken was fried until cooked thoroughly.
We then warmed and split the pitta bread pockets to serve with the chicken and salad with houmous/yogurt dip.

Sous Chef J couldn't wait to enjoy the fruits of our labours!