My Instagram Feast

Clockwise from top left: the ever amazing cress (sewn by my even more amazing 3 yo on cotton wool, can’t beat it), a griddled courgette, aubergine, mozarella and tomato salad; good old strawberries and ice cream; pesto and spinach potato salad with carrot, tomatoes and fruit salad for al fresco eating on the grass outside our flat, more potato salad with yummy smoked salmon; home made ice pops – a daily habit at the mo; feta, cucumber, spinach and mint salad with the new Genius tomato and basil pittas – approved, very scrummy cheese and potato pie from Clives at the Allergy and Free From show; and my lazy dinner du jour of pasta, pesto and sugar snap peas – I know I’m a real gourmet!

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Gluten Free Finds and Favourites

I’ve been wanting to share with you some of my new (and some old) favourite gluten free products available in the supermarkets.  I know not all of my readers follow a gluten free diet and it’s not something I want to always harp on about, I like this blog to have ideas for everyone, diet specific or not, but sometimes it’s nice to specify and this is what this is.  Anyway you might not be a Coeliac or gluten intolerant but you might have friends or family that are and it’s always useful to have a few tricks up your sleeves for feeding them with ease.

At the top of the list is a bread that even at 3 days old I can make pretty darn decent sandwiches from (this is not a common factor in gf breads) and has finally allowed me to bring a ‘normal’ packed lunch into work of occasion.   

Gluten Free Brown Sliced Bread (400g)

There seem to be a lot of new loaves arriving on the supermarket shelves but this has to be my favourite.  Unfortunately, I don’t rate their white, it’s still too dry and crumbly for me but ‘Warburtons Gluten Free Brown’ is ace.  It’s soft, yet hearty, and has good staying power.  If I want doughy, white goodness I go for Tesco’s own brand Free From White loaf featured here but in terms of a healthy, moreish, every day bread for sandwiches and toast this is the one.  I recently noticed some gf tea cakes on the shelves by the lovely Warburtons, I haven’t tried them yet so if you have let me know!

Another product I only spotted recently was this gluten free pizza base from Sainsburys, it made the most delectable base for garlic and cheese topping that I shared with my non coeliac friend who couldn’t tell the difference.  I know that really I should be knocking up my own dough and this recipe at ‘The Gluten Free Student Cookbook’, does look and sound gorgeous.  But time is tight sometimes, and occasionally (ok quite often really)  you just want something quick and simple and this fits the bill (or the stomach).

The next product on my list is something I’m still experimenting with but has so far proved to be a great store cupboard essential.  I made a beautifully moist and delicious Victoria Sponge and some yummy Citrus Drizzle Fairy Cakes with this flour and have been experimenting making flat breads with it too.  Dove’s Farm seem to be pretty hot on all things gluten free and their website lists extensive baking recipes using their flours so you are never without a gluten free alternative. 

Doves Farm Gluten Free and Wheat Free Flour

When it comes to spaghetti the best brand I’ve tried is Salute.  However it does seem to have disappeared recently.  I’ve done a quick search for a website and can’t find them, it used to be stocked in most of the big supermarkets but recently I’ve only seen it in Waitrose or on Ocado.  So if I see it now I stock up.  It seems like a long time since I ate gluten but as far as my memory can remember it is the closest in taste and texture I’ve found to a quality dried, wheat based spaghetti,  I serve it up regularly to non coeliacs and no one has ever noticed a difference (win).  It’s an Italian brand (of course) and really is a perfect gluten free alternative. 

Salute Gluten Free Spaghetti

Now I’ve had a bit of a cut back on my purchase of these bars recently because they weren’t fitting in with the purse strings or the new diet but they were a staple of mine for taking to work last year and they provide a great and fairly healthy mid morning or mid afternoon snack to keep you going.  They are packed with almonds and dried fruits and really yummy.  These days it seems quite hard to find a cereal type bar that is gluten free and these little beauties certainly fit the bill for me.

Right, before I stop, there are some little wonders I’ve been hiding in my cupboard regularly for the past two years and they are these Custard Creams by TruFree.  When I started eating gluten free I was impressed by some of the lovely cookies and macaroons on offer but I missed those classic, dunk in your tea, type biscuits that are a staple in biscuit tins and on tea breaks around the country and then I found them… 

Custard Creams

So with these little creamy, custardy biscuits of joy I will leave you….

p.s. What are your favourite gluten free finds?

Gnocchi with a Tomato and Basil Sauce

I think it was Annie from Annies Supper Club who was tweeting about her gnocchi the other day and I was like, yeah that sounds good I must have a go.  So I roughly followed a recipe from Practical Cookery.  This book is great, it’s one of the books catering students are advised to buy when doing their NVQs and it’s perfect for looking up classic recipe formats and ratios.  I halved the recipe and exchanged the plain flour for gluten free plain flour to suit me. 

Serves 2

for the gnocchi:

50g flour (gf for me)

150g of mashed potato

1 egg (well actually about 2/3s of an egg, I just scooped out a bit of the white before mixing

salt and pepper

a small handful of parsley, chopped

Method:

First cook your potato, I nuked mine in the microwave, wasn’t sure how much would be 150g cooked so I cooked a large jacket, you could bake or boil it, and then weighed it afterwards.  Microwaving or baking is best because it dries out the potato but you can boil or steam if you wish. 

Mix the mash with the flour, seasoning and herbs.  Mix the egg and stir into the mixture, you might want to get your hand in and combine until in a soft dough.  Break off small pieces and roll into walnut sized balls. Gently flatten balls with a fork. 

Then poach gently in boiling water until they rise to the surface.  Drain and set aside until you’ve made your sauce.

I then made a simple tomato sauce the recipe is the same as the one I used for meatballs in an earlier post so go check it out if you want to.  Once the sauce was ready I put in my gnocchi and warmed through.  Then chucked in a handful of chopped basil, stirred through and served with some grated parmesan. 

Ha ha, I made pasta!!