Now I’m not entirely fond of this brand of coffee shop, I don’t rate their coffee that much (sorry!) but the one thing that this multinational coffee gang do well is gluten free nibbles. I’m often impressed by the range of sweet treats I can buy there AND they have been doing gluten free sandwiches for a long time now. And this, folks, impresses me. I mean sandwiches, gluten free ones, on the high street, it’s not a lot to some but it means a great deal to me. Now they were doing a chicken and pesto thingy me jig filling which I sampled in a motorway service station last year but I was a tad disappointed by the lack of filling and ended up leaving all the crusts behind. However this new sandwich, well, it is jam packed with cheesey goodness and pickle AND salad, and I was rather impressed. Good things sometimes do happen, even to us sad coeliacs! So my friends there is more choice out there, go forth and try it, then tootle back and tell me what you think…
This is basically a bastardisation of the creamy, thigh fatteningly good Dauphinois Potatoes except in a very generous attempt to create a slimmer version I’ve replaced the tatties with squash and probably cheapened it a little by using some bog standard cheddar on the top. Anyways this is super simple and has become a weekly staple at Flood towers. I eat it on its own or with some wilted spinach although it would make a smashing side to a roast if you can be bothered.
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 tub of double cream (erm about 200ml or whatever the medium size tub holds or your dish can take?)
- 1 fat clove of garlic
- A big handful of cheddar or whatever cheese you fancy
Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. Peel the squash and slice into thin slices, as thin as you can get basically, if you;ve got a mandolin then go you but I did pretty well with a cleaver and some concentrated slicing. Peel and half a garlic clove then rub the garlic round the dish you are using, I used a glass casserole dish but a deepish baking tray would do. Chop the remaining garlic and set aside for a mo.
And so begins the layering, spread out even layers of squash then a sprinkle of garlic, then squash until you get near the top, that’s when I start to care about the layout and fan them nicely across the top (although it doesn’t really matter as you’ll see from the appalling photograph, as it gets covered in molten cheese and cream by the end). Then pour over the cream letting it drip down to the bottom, don’t worry about filling it right to the brim, it seems to work just fine without cream overload. Sprinkle the top with cheese, oh go on then a little more, then slide into the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes until the squash is tender and the top is molten and bubbling, golden and cheesy goodness.
Serve as suggested before with wilted spinach, or a salad or let this accompany your Sunday roast.
I had this salad or a version of it a few years ago in a lovely Spanish restaurant in Fulham. Since then from time to time I make it. Seeing as the market appeared to be bursting with ripe figs today, I bought some then went in search of it’s partners in crime, Manchego and Serrano ham. I found some great Manchego reduced in the supermarket today so it seemed like the god of ingredients was on my side and on I trotted with my packet of ham happily dreaming of this yummy salad that would soon become my lunch!
This is super simple and you can make it all pretty with practically no effort at all.
A handful of baby spinach or green leaves of your choice
2 slices of Serrano ham
2 ripe figs
10g of Manchego cheese
A couple of teaspoons of a good sherry vinegar
Half a teaspoon of agave syrup
Salt and pepper
Olive oil would be good here but I did without
Mix the vinegar, syrup, salt, pepper and oil, if using. Dress leaves and plate up. Cut the figs into four and arrange like a clock around the plate. Tear your slices of ham and pop in the centre then shave (potato peeler) the Manchego on top. Drizzle left over dressing over figs and serve. Bloody marvellous!
Well it is Pancake Day isn’t it?
Right I won’t bore you with a recipe for a pancake batter, if you’ve made it this far I think you either a. know how to make it or b. can operate a computer well enough to search for a decent recipe on the t’internet. I thought I’d just share my pancake dinner with you and share my ideas.
I was a little concerned for the potential lack of veg in a traditional pancake supper and seeing as I was cooking for me and my lil lady I thought I would attempt to include a good few of our five a day. So for pancake dinner tonight I made some cheese and vegetable pancakes, that sounds a little dull doesn’t it but I can’t think of a snazzy title right now and they were yummy honest. Then for dessert we ate pancakes with cinnamon apples and ice cream.
For the veggie pancakes:
I added a good shake or two of smoked paprika and some garlic salt to the batter ( i made gf but i’m sure you have your own fav recipes).
For the filling I softened some onions, added some grated carrot, a chubby clove of garlic (chopped) and fried in a pan. Then at the last minute flung in two great big handfuls of spinach and set aside in a bowl. I then grated some cheese and stirred it into the veg mix, fried off my pancake on one side, flipped, added stuffing and rolled up in the pan. You can pop the rolled pancakes into the oven to keep warm whilst you make the rest.
For pancake pudding, I added a little sugar and some vanilla to a basic batter mix then fried off some apples with sugar, butter and cinnamon and filled the pancakes with them. I served them up with a squeeze of agave syrup and some vanilla ice cream.
What did you do with yours?
This is a small start to what I am planning to be a big cooking weekend. Sometimes all I want to eat is nibbly, picniccy things and this lunch time all I wanted was crisps and dips. Not very healthy so I have balanced my craving with some nice fresh carrot sticks and some lovely ripe and sweet Piccolo cherry tomatoes. This is my easy start, I have big plans for this weekend’s cooking tasks after a week or so of non blogging I think I need to come back with a bang, this is not it, just a little taster, or amuse bouche.
A tablespoon of creme fraiche
A tablespoon of mayonnaise
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic crushed
A tablespoon of your favourite hard cheese (or whatever you have in the fridge), grated
Salt and pepper
Combine ingredients. Serve with yummy crisps, mmm crisps and vegetable crudites or whatever else you wish to dip into this lush little snack pot.
1 leek, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 rashers of bacon, chopped up
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
7/8 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2/3 heaped dessert spoons of creme fraiche
A handful of grated cheese (parmesan ideal but mine had been thrown out by my ocd partner who thought it looked hard)
A splash of white wine or sherry (or in my case some Shaosing wine! actually tastes just like dry sherry so worked really well)
1 large egg yolk
Salt and pepper
Mix the egg yolk with the creme fraiche and cheese in a bowl. Add seasoning and set aside. Soften onions and leeks in a pan (or microwave). Fry bacon bits until crispy and drain on some kitchen towel. Add onion and leeks to bacon pan, with garlic and mushrooms and fry for a minute or so. Then add a splash of wine/sherry and reduce until the liquid has disappeared.
Add cooked, hot pasta to creme fraiche and egg mix. Stir round. Add leek and mushroom mix. Add bacon. Stir. Tip back into hot pan for a min or so if it needs to be hotter but be careful, you don’t want scrambled eggs.
Serve in a bowl with some extra cheese and bacon if desired.