Gluten Free Finds…

This is probably about the best ready made ,gluten free bread I’ve found.  I’ve tried Genius but I can’t help finding it a bit dry and lets face it, it’s pretty expensive.  However Tesco’s have produced their own brand of gluten free bread and if you get it within a few days before the best before date you can even make a splendid soft sandwich out of it. 

Sainsbury's freefrom mince pies x 4

The other little beauties I found yesterday, and they are almost gone, are Sainsburys Free From Mince Pies.  I’ve never been a great fan of these little christmas pastry parcels but since becoming a Coeliac I have rather missed the opportunity to eat them and when wondering round my local Sainsbury’s I found them and thought hmm, why not?  They are lovely, moist, crumbly and sweet, with an almost caramel stickiness of mincemeat inside.  I had mine heated up with a little ice cream, mmm, let the festivities begin!

What Isla’s Dad Ate…

I think my Dad is trying to add a bit of class to my humble site, please tell me if you try this…

Langouste a la Sétoise 

Elisabeth David’s book French Provincial Cookery provides a recipe for Langouste Comme Chez Nenette. Mrs David writes that this dish has its origins in Sete.  Sete is port and a seaside resort on the Languedoc- Roussillon coast, just southwest of Montpellier.  A number of powerful tasting shellfish/fish casserole dishes are associated with Sete.  These are part of that family of seafood casseroles found along the western shore of the Mediterranean, which include bourride, bouillabaisse, caldereta de llamàntol and burrida

Like most chefs, when presented with a recipe I have to start fiddling with it.  So below is how I prepare Langouste in the style of Sete, which probably the good people of the area would not recognise, using Elisabeth David’s recipe as starting point.

Langoustes, in English Spiny or Rock Lobster or Crawfish, are part of a worldwide group of lobster type shellfish without claws. This shellfish is rarely available for sale in most United Kingdom fishmongers.  I have found them for sale occasionally in the Bullring Market in Birmingham, for over a year at my local supermarket frozen – £10 for two, a remarkable bargain and through the internet. In the recipe below, I use frozen langouste tails due to the opportunity to buy them fresh and whole being rare. Other shellfish such as lobsters and langoustines/scampi you can use for this dish.

For four people

  • Four x150g                        Langouste tails                                    Four x 6oz
  • 100g                                Finely sliced onions                            4oz
  • 100g                                Finely sliced fennel                            4oz
  • 100g                                Sweet red pepper, roasted,                     4oz

skinned and finely sliced

  • 50g                                          Celery peeled and finely sliced              2oz
  • 450g                                Tomatoes peeled, seeded               1lb

and chopped

  • 15g                                  Finely shredded basil                                ½ oz
  • 125ml                              Garlic mayonnaise                    5floz
  • 50ml                                Extra virgin olive oil                             2floz
  • 125g                                Reduced shellfish stock                      5floz
  • 50ml                                White wine                                        2floz
  • 25ml                                Brandy                                                           1floz
  • 25ml                                Aniseed based liquor                                 1floz

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Sweat onions, fennel, celery and peppers until very soft in the 25ml/1ozolive oil
  2. 2.    Add tomatoes, shellfish stock and white wine – note: depending on the quality of tomatoes you may have to add some tomatoe puree
  3. Reduce to a thick sauce
  4. Stir in brandy and aniseed based liqueur
  5. Slice langoustine tails in to two cm/½ inch roundels
  6. Sauté roundels in remaining olive oil
  7. Add sauce, bring to boil
  8. Take of heat
  9. Blend in garlic mayonnaise and add basil then serve in a hot dish


Shellfish Stock

450g             Lobster, crab, prawn, shrimp shells    1lb

50g               Chopped fennel                        2oz

50G              Chopped celery                                      2oz                       

50g               Chopped onion                                       2oz

50g               Chopped leek                                        2oz

100g             Chopped tomatoes                    4oz

2                  Cloves garlic crushed

25g              Parsley stalks                                       1oz

1                  Bay leaf

12                White peppercorns

50 ml           Olive oil                                   2floz

Two             Star anise

1 litres          Water                                                   2 pints

125 ml          Dry white wine                                    ¼ pint

  1. Fry fennel, celery, onion  and leek in the olive oil to golden brown( do not burn) in large pot
  2. Remove the vegetables from the pot
  3. Fry shells in the pot stirring all the time for five minutes
  4. Add the fried vegetables, tomatoes, garlic,  parsley stalks, bay leaf ,peppercorns and parsley stalks, then cover with the water
  5. Bring to the boil, skimming regularly.
  6. Place on to low heat.  Allow stock to cook gently – barely simmering for one hour
  7. Strain stock and reduce by gentle boiling to 125ml/5floz


Garlic mayonnaise

  • 125ml                Extra virgin Olive Oil                          5floz
  • 1             Egg yolk
  • 4             Cloves of garlic – crushed
  • I/2 tbsp    Water

Salt and pepper to taste


1                              Blend garlic, egg yolk and water together

2                              Whisk the mixture in a figure of eight motion gradually adding the olive oil


Carrot and Cumin Soup


4 large carrots

1 onion

1 leek

1 desert spoonful of cumin

1 veg stock cube

Salt and pepper


Chop the onion, leek and 1 carrot into small bits.  Soften in a pan or microwave. 

Begin to fry veg base, add cumin and fry for a minute.

Add 3 sliced carrots.

Stir.  Add stock cube.  Cover with boiling water.

Simmer until carrots are tender.

Whiz with a blender.  Add salt and pepper.

Sieve (optional).


Persian Sweet Rice

Recipe and proper name to come courtesy of Reshma. Eid Mubarak!

Right the recipe for the Nawabi Persian Sweet Rice! This is one of my favourite recipes because it’s easy to make and you can’t really go wrong with it-even if you are an amateur chef!
There are numerous ways of cooking it and it varies from country to country both in Persia and the Indian sub-continent. This recipe in particular is more Persian than Asian, and I learnt this from my mother whose ancestors originated from Persia.
The reason why this is a ‘royal’ dish is because of the expensive ingredients such as saffron, almonds, kish-mish, pistachio etc and only those who were wealthy (such as the royals) could afford to make such a dish because of the ingredients.
1-2 tbs veg oil-Do not use olive oil!!!
4 green cardamon pods.
2 cinnamon sticks.
3-4 saffron strands. (optional)
A pinch of orange food colour (optional).
2 cups of Tilda Basmati rice, leave to soak in water for a maximum of an hour.
1 cup of granulated sugar.
Dessicated coconut (optional-to taste).
Kish Mish (optional-mixed dried fruits such as cranberries, raisins etc-to taste).
Chopped walnuts (optional-to taste).
Chopped almonds (optional-to taste).
Pistachio (optional-to taste).
1. Boil the rice with 2 cardamon pods, 1 cinammon stick, saffron and food colour until the rice is 3/4 cooked-drain.
2. In a large pan/wok heat the oil and add the remaining 2 cardamon pods and cinnamon stick.
3- Add the drained rice and stir gently on a low flame. The oil should evenly coat the rice.
4-Add the sugar and stir gently so it is evenly distributed.
5-Add the coconut and agin stir gently so it mixes well.
5-Add the kish-mish, almonds, pistachio d walnuts and then turn off the heat.
6- Allow to cool.
Et voila!
This is served either warm or cold.

Left Over Chicken Stir Fry

This is a lovely light left over dish, perfect, if like me, you’ve been overdoing the chocolate fudge!


Left over roast chicken, ripped in to chunky shreds

Ginger and garlic, finely chopped

Spring onions, sliced

Carrot, grated

Cabbage, shredded

Soy sauce

Shaosing wine


Put a little oil in a hot pan. Throw in ginger and garlic and fry for a min.  Add chicken.  Stir.  Add spring onions.  Add Shaosing wine, a splash.  Add carrot and cabbage.  Add a good shake of soy.

Stir.  Fry.  Serve.

I had a little squeeze of sweet chilli with this as well, might go well in the pan too…

Saudi Asian Kheema – What Reshma Ate…

This dish is easy to prepare and popular because it contains basic ingredients thay can be found in a kitchen cupboard!

Saudi-Asian Beef Kheema With Mushrooms & Red Kidney Beans.

Serves 4.

You need:-

3-4 tbs vegetable oil.

1\2 kilo minced beef (lamb ok but beef is best).

2-3 large tbs garlic and ginger paste.

1 large onion chopped finely.

2 green chillies finely chopped.

3-4 curry leaves.

1 tbs fresh thyme (or to taste).

1 can red kidney beans, washed and drained.

I can of tinned tomatoes (puree it and keep aside).

1 box of mushrooms, sliced.

Salt, white pepper and black pepper to taste.

I bunch of fresh green coriander, chopped finely.

1 cup of water.

Optional- 2 large hard bolied eggs-sliced.


1. Fry chopped onion until nearly golden.

2. Add chopped chillies, thyme and curry leaves and let fry for a couple of mins.

3. Add minced beef and fry well. Add the garlic & ginger paste, salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add sliced mushrooms and fry. Give it a stir now and again.

5. Add pureed tomatoes. Let cook until oil appears on the surface. Give it an occassional stir. Once the oil appears, add one glass of water, mix and let cook for a further 10 mins.

6. Add kidney beans, mix and let cook for about ten mins. Taste it and see if you require more salt and pepper.

7. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and sliced hard boiled eggs (optional).

Best served with a French baguette and a green salad.




Oatcake Update

I am very sad to write that my gluten free Oatcakes arrived on Friday.  Sad, I’m afraid, because they were so disappointing.  Firstly the package was a padded envelope and inside were my excitedly anticipated oatcakes wrapped loosely in nothing but a plastic sandwich bag! I then opened up the bag and was overcome with a horrible synthetic smell of what I can only describe as some sort of cleaning fluid.  But not to be undone I perservered, perhaps I thought if I grilled and filled one of these little beauties I would change my mind.  So off I went, grill turned on, cheese sliced and then filled into the oatcake.  It came out hot and bubbling and crispy round the edges, so still hoping I took a bite.  Now I’m not a hugely fussy eater and in all honesty I probably would eat alot of crap, and sometimes do! However this was such a vile mouthful I actually had to spit it out.  The packet has been resigned to the bin and I am so dreadfully disappointed.  Perhaps it was wishful thinking hoping that they could create a gluten free version that would taste quite good and perhaps the normal ones are delicious but I’m afraid I won’t find out. 

Anyway in consolation I made some very naughty treats this weekend so see below at the other posts and keep reading.

Chocolate Kahlua Fudge

This is based on Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Pistachio Fudge. It’s not really a proper fudge, it’s easier to make and just as yummy.


350g of dark chocolate

30g Butter

1 tin of condensed milk

2 shots of Kahlua


Break chocolate up in to small pieces. Add butter and condensed milk to a saucepan, add chocolate and heat very gently until it melts together.

Once melted pour in to a lined tin and leave to set in the fridge.

If you do this without the Kahlua you can slice/chop into little squares. However if, like me, you fancied the little kick of Kahlua then once set you can tear off chunks and roll into balls. Roll balls in some sieved chocolate powder, I used drinking chocolate this time, but this would work equally well with cocoa.

Keep chilled in the fridge or if you want to keep them for longer freeze them until needed. These make a lovely gift or treat for sharing with friends. I’m planning on bringing mine into work tomorrow as a little mid term pick me up!

Celeriac and Potato Gratin

This is a really rich, creamy and earthy treat for dinner. I had this on it’s own, it would be lovely with a simple green salad or even as a side dish in a bigger meal but it’s so rich I think it’s best in the starring role.

Small celeriac, peeled and sliced very thinly
1 medium potato, sliced very thinly
1 clove of garlic
1/2 pint of milk
150/200ml of double cream
30g Parmesan cheese


Rub a baking dish with the garlic clove.
Fill with the sliced potato and celeriac and the rest of the garlic chopped. Season as you layer.
Pour milk over and place in preheated oven at 170 for about 40 min.
Drain off milk and fill with cream.
Top with grated Parmesan.
Return to oven for about half a hour at 200.
Put under gril for a couple of min at the end to ensure a golden bubbling crust.