Chocamole

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I know, I know everyone has done a chocamole, but I was intrigued, surely a green fruit mixed with cocoa could not make a thick, creamy and satisfying pudding. It does though. I made a quick portion tonight using this recipe herewith the maple syrup substituted with agave. I’ve been eating it whilst reading the health benefits of avocados, I know, multi tasking pudding eating with web reading, that’s just how I roll.

If this post looks a bit funny it’s because it’s my first complete upload from the app on my phone, fingers crossed it works though.

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Chilli with Gluten Free Corn Tortillas

I’ve been dreaming about gluten-free tortillas or wraps since I stopped eating gluten, they are somewhat the holy grail of gluten-free finds and until recently I didn’t think anyone manufactured any good ones.  However, it seems there is a saviour, Saara at The Gluten Free Student Cookbook has found some at the Mex Grocer and she also had a go at making some here.  These looked great and I shall be certainly ordering some of the Mex Grocer ones for my freezer but after reading Thomasina Miers’ Mexican Food Made Simple over the last week I had ambitions to go authentic and cook some from scratch.  Now you’ll need to source some ‘Masa Harina’ flour first, not too difficult it would seem, it’s of course readily available online but also stocked at major supermarkets (I found mine in Sainsburys).  It’s a pretty simple recipe, I followed the one on the back of the packet which just involves adding hot water, Thomasina adds some oil to hers  and in hindsight I would recommend a glug into the mix to improve the flexibility of the finished tortilla.  The ones I made were not something you could easily use for a fajita or wrap but made a great flat bread type accompaniment to a chilli and certainly would work well in wedges, refried and served with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and cheese.

The chilli was mostly my own invention, whilst I nicked the idea for  the admission of chorizo from Thomasina the rest was a bit of this and bit of that from my imagination (oh yeah and a quick consultary call to my Dad).

Ingredients:

For the chilli:

  • 250g of lean beef mince
  • 250g of pork mince
  • a third of a ring of chorizo, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 200g carton of passata
  • 1 tin of kidney beans
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of mild chilli powder (crank up the heat on this if you can take it, I regretted the lack of spice but I was catering for a 3 year old too so added extra fresh chilli to mine at the end)
  • 1 rounded teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 1/2 a tablespoon of agave syrup
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2/3 squares of dark chocolate
  • salt and pepper

For the tortillas (makes about 4, double, or triple for more):

  • 125g Masa Harina flour
  • 160ml of hot water
  • salt and pepper
  • a tablespoon of oil

Method:

Brown the mince and chorizo in a large pot.  Add the onion, celery and garlic and fry gently for a few minutes until tender.  Add the chilli powder and paprika and fry for a minute or so then add the tomatoes and passata and top with half a can of water.  Bring up to the simmer and add the vinegar, ketchup, syrup and salt and pepper.  Simmer with the lid on for about 30 min then add the kidney beans and cook on a low heat for a further 15 min.  Chuck in the chocolate, stir, then set aside until your tortillas are ready.

Mix the corn flour, salt, pepper, oil and hand hot water in a large bowl and bring together into a soft, clay like ball.  Cover and leave to rest for 15-30 min.  Take a golf ball sized chunk and roll in to a ball in your hands then place between the layers of a plastic sandwich bag.  Now this is where in an ideal world you would be a good Mexican cook and have a tortilla press to make fine looking circles with no cracks, however I’m not Mexican and I’m not very good either so instead I used a good old fashioned British rolling pin and made round (ish), cracked rustic circles, and when I say circles you can use your imagination there as well.  You want to aim for about 2mm thick but I say experimentation is the best way forward and find your way through trial and error, the odd snack or test case whilst cooking never did anyone any harm.  Heat a dry pan and cook your tortillas on a high heat for a couple of minutes each side until slightly puffed and charred. Keep your tortillas warm in a tea towel in a low oven whilst you assemble the rest of the meal.

I served my chilli in a bowl topped with a rough guacamole (chopped avocado, chilli and lime), sour cream, and grated cheese with the tortillas on the side to dip, wrap, mop up and devour.

Apple Crumble (Gluten Free)

I do love a good crumble, I can pretty much make a crumble mixture by eye these days but just for you I’ve measured out the quantities (I’m good to you aren’t I?).

Crumbles are the ultimate comfort food and served with custard can make many a grown man, or woman, weep with pleasure.  It’s a simple recipe and just as easy to make gluten free, if you aren’t a coeliac then just substitute gluten free flour for the ‘normal’ stuff.

I’ve made an apple one here because I’ve been popping down to my local market of late and getting the bargain of all bargains on big fat juicy Braeburns of 10 for a pound, can’t say fairer than that can you, but one can only eat so many apples a day in their raw form, so a crumble was in the offing from the moment those apples hit the bag.  You could use any fruit you like with this recipe, a bit of forced rhubarb would be nice or if you are making this at the end of the summer a few hedge picked blackberries in with the apples would go down a treat.  Right, enough waffling and onto the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz gluten free plain flour (I used Dove’s Farm)
  • 2 oz of butter
  • 1 1/2 oz of sugar
  • 5 big apples
  • a handful of sultanas
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • A squirt of agave syrup
  • A baking dish about 25 cm long or whatever you;ve got

Method:

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees.  Peel and chop the apples roughly then stew in a pan with the sultanas, cinnamon, agave syrup and a splash of water until tender.  Pour apples into dish.  Rub the butter into the flour until you have crumbs.  Add the sugar and stir.  Then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top and shake to settle.  Bake in the oven for a bout 30/35 min until starting to turn a light golden and the apples bubbling up from the bottom.

Serve with custard, make your own if you can be bothered, it is much better that way but don’t feel guilty if you just peel open a tub from the cupboard. I didn’t…

Baked Apples

This is my attempt to sate my crumble craving (this is all your blinking fault MathildeheartManech, your crumble muffins and links to beautiful crumble making blogs!).  This is not a crumble in any way but, in my diet addled brain, it seems to sit well as a lighter alternative that although lacking in the crumble still has that warm, spiced, sticky apple content that somehow fits so well in the beginning of Autumn.  Serve this with rich, creamy vanilla ice cream or  if like me that isn’t really an option, perhaps a crappy low fat version or some greek yoghurt spiked with vanilla and syrup.

Baked apples are something I often forget about then remember and become addicted once more.  This is the perfect time, British apples in season, temperatures cooling and leaves tumbling from the trees.  Wrap up, stick the oven on and relax with a bowl of baked apple and ice cream.

Baked Apples

Ingredients:

For 3 apples:

3 Apples

6 teaspoons of butter

half a teaspoon of cinnamon

2 teaspoons (? i just squirted) agave syrup (or brown sugar, golden syrup any sweet sticky goodness you have to hand)

A tablespoon of sultanas

Method:

Pre heat the oven to about 180 degrees.

Mix the butter, syrup, cinnamon and sultanas together. Core your apples and score a line with a sharp knife round the middle (i think this stops them exploding and also allows them to puff up like souffles as they cook).  Stuff the butter and sultana mix into the centres and place on a baking tray.  Cook in the oven for about 30/40 min or until golden, puffed and sticky.

Iced Banana Espresso Pick Me Up

Hello there, I’ve been a bit slack lately haven’t I? It was my last week at work last week before the summer holidays (yay!) and, typically, I suddenly realised as it kicked in on Monday that I had shed loads still to do so I ws busy getting stuff together and packing for my 3rd office move in 2 1/2 years(!). At the weekend I attended a very interesting conference come residential training course and have since been pottering about and trying to entertain my 3 year old daughter. We went to Brighton yesterday, I really love it there and they have the best play area by the beach so the little lady was more than entertained with that, the beach and running down the promenade at top speed. Here a few pictures of the day:

Priya and Megan throwing stones into the sea

The old pier

Forget Zumba try walking up and down these for an hour, thighs of steel I tell you!

After getting back we were cream crackered, there is something about the sea air and trekking round and up and down the hills and pebbly beaches of Brighton that makes you realise how incredibly unfit you are, my thighs are literally aching today after dragging the push chair through the pebbles and pushing it arduously up the hill back to the station. Anyway we were a bit unlucky with our choices of food and drink that day and towards the end of the afternoon I really fancied a proper milkshake, so we went into what looked like a reputable establishment amongst the Lanes and ordered said milkshake. After reading the claims of ‘mixed with homemade ice cream’ I had somewhat got my hopes up that this would be a thick flavoursome affair but unfortunately I was sadly disappointed by the syrup based, watery, sweet milk drink that arrived. But I was not deterred, I would, by the end of the day, find or make my ultimate milk pick me up and that I did! I became a little obsessed last summer with those frozen mocha coffee drinks all the big chains do but after realising they were practically the sum total of my expected calorie intake of a day and then getting that post caffeine sugar slump I decided it was best I cut back on these icy delights. So to compensate and as a little treat (this can be naughty) I concocted my own rather healthier and far, far tastier iced coffee drink. If you’ve been with me for a while you will have read one of my first very simple recipes for an ice cream like banana milkshake (the secret – frozen banana) so this is an extension of that technique with or without the optional (perhaps depending on the time of day you wish to drink this) slosh of Kahlua.

mmmm...

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 frozen bananas (this is a great way to use up bananas that are starting to brown, chop them up into chunky slices, bag and chuck in the freezer then next time you fancy a rather virtuous treat, you have the main ingredient to hand and no waste!)

Half a pint of milk (you choose your fat level, skimmed works and is healthy but if you fancy a more full on creamy sensation then whack up the fat content and go full fat)

2 espressos, I use Percol, it’s instant but very good

A squirt, or maybe 2 of agave syrup, failing that golden, honey or sugar – I like the idea that I’m being semi healthy with the agave (plus this is the stuff they make tequila from!)

A capful of vanilla extract

A couple of measures of Kahlua (optional)

Method:

Whizz all the ingredients in a blender. Serve in glasses of your choice or a mug like I used this afternoon in my non alcoholic version ( no ones looking you know). Grate some chocolate on top if you are feeling fancy and drink or spoon down your throat whilst smugly thinking how fantastically good this is for you. This drink not only gives you one of your five a day, it gives you a good caffeine kick, has calcium in it, the banana adds fibre and prevents that post caffeine slump AND if you use agave its sugar free. What more could you want? Make one NOW!!!

p.s. if you want to halve the recipe and make enough for one, go on you’re worth it, then it might be advisable to let the espresso cool for while so that it doesn’t melt your drink too much, I found with 2 bananas it is fine but with one you can end up losing the ice cream finish so just wait a little while yeah?

Sweet Potato Pancakes

In preparation for pancake day I decided to have a go at the recipe Hugh Fearley-Whittingstall wrote in the Guardian on Saturday.  You can find the recipe and article here:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/mar/05/pancakes-yorkshire-pudding-dosa-recipes

I had to alter it to make it gluten free and sadly they had no orange sweet potatoes (which i think is what this recipe really calls for) in the greengrocers so I bought one of those purple ones with the white flesh and tried it with this. The result was a very dense pancake, lovely, but don’t try to to eat more than two, if you make it my way, as I feel like my stomach is stuffed!  So I changed the plain flour to Doves Gluten Free Plain Flour and had to add some extra milk because my potato was very dry ( i think the orange ones have a higher water content).  I served mine sweet with agave syrup, squeezed clementine juice and some sliced banana but I think the idea of bacon that Hugh suggest sounds lush. 

I hope to post again about more things pancake later in the week but if I don’t see you before, Happy Pancake Day!!!