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The Gluten Free Veggie

Gluten Free and Vegetarian Recipes, Reviews and Information

Month

September 2015

Product Review | Isabel’s Gluten Free Yorkshire Pudding Mix

Please read the entire review to see my star rating and overall conclusion.

This product is £2 in ASDA or £1.99 on Ocado (not including delivery).

I was going to focus my review on making Yorkshire puddings, but I’ve found this mix makes the BEST gluten free pancakes (hence the featured image at the top!).

I’ve used this mix for Yorkshire puddings a few months ago and they worked out exactly as you would expect. They cooked as per the packet settings and tasted just like the normal version. Another upside to these is that they are freezable – so you can make an entire batch, have a few that night with a roast dinner and put the rest in the freezer for another day! They take hardly any time to reheat and the taste isn’t altered by freezing.

No G Pie 2

The batter is easy to make and the instructions are very clear. You simply add 2 large eggs and 160ml of milk to the powder and beat into a batter.

Isabel's pancakes (4)

Once you’ve made the batter you can use it for Yorkshire puddings or for pancakes. I’ve found it makes around 4 large crepes, or 8 small ones.

The batter can be treated just like “normal” gluten batter and each pancake doesn’t take long. They’re easy to flip and don’t break or rip.

Isabel's pancakes (5)

Overall I’m really impressed with this product – often gluten free versions of food either struggle to replicate the taste or the texture. This product avoids both of those pitfalls.

★★★★★

5 stars for a tasty, reasonably priced product that was easy to use. The pancakes and Yorkshire puddings replicate their gluten counterparts perfectly, and keep well in the freezer. I would highly recommend this product to anyone following a gluten free diet.

Recipe (GF, DF, V) | Rice ratatouille with a poached egg

Eggs are a great way to get some protein into your diet. I often seem to end up eating dinners that involve cheese, and so this was also an experiment to make something dairy free.

The ratatouille can be made with whatever vegetables you have in the house at that time – I usually have courgette and mushrooms in the fridge.

I use a silicone egg poacher. You can find them on Amazon for around £5 but I got mine in ASDA.

Ingredients:

1 medium sized courgette

2 large button mushrooms, or 4 small ones

1/4 of an orange pepper (you can use any colour, but I like the sweetness of the orange pepper for this recipe)

A handful of pine nuts

1 carton of passata

Dried Italian herbs (oregano and basil are my favourites)

One teaspoon of green pesto (I use Sacla, DF and GF)

70g of white rice

1 medium sized chicken egg

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons of olive oil or sunflower oil

Method:

  1. Boil a pan of water for the rice. Boil a pan of water for the egg.
  2. Once one of the pans is boiled, add the rice. Cook as per the packet instructions (mine says to cook for 18 minutes) or until there is no bite left in each grain. When the other pan has boiled, add a small amount of the oil to silicone egg poachers and use a piece of kitchen roll to coat the inside evenly. Crack an egg and add it to the silicone egg poacher. Add the egg to the water and cook for around 4 minutes, depending on how soft you like the yolk.
  3. Chop the vegetables. In frying pan heat up the oil and add the chopped vegetables. Fry for a few minutes until the courgettes and peppers start to soften. Then add the pine nuts and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Once the vegetables are cooked turn down the heat and add the herbs, passata, pesto and salt and pepper to the vegetable mixture.  Let it simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, drain the water and add the rice to the sauce.
  5. Plate up the rice and ratatouille mixture and top with the poached egg. Enjoy!

Rice with egg (3)

Recipe (GF, DF, V, Ve) | Mushroom, runner bean, pine nut and basil risotto

Risotto is easier to make than you might think! This one is particularly yummy as well as being free from gluten, dairy and being suitable for vegetarians and vegans – no downsides!

As with all my recipes the amounts are approximate and cooking times may vary. I’ve adjusted the paprika and herbs for my personal taste, but feel free to experiment with the amounts. The paprika is not meant to overpower the basil flavour, I just find it gives a bit more flavour to the stock.

Mushr, runner beans, pine nut risotto (3)

Ingredients:

Mush risotto (2)

Approx. 70g (uncooked weight) of arborio rice

Sunflower oil (enough to fry the mushrooms)

1 pint of boiling water

1 vegetable stock cube

3 large button mushrooms or 5 small ones

3 large runner beans

A handful of pine nuts

Half a teaspoon of smoked paprika

2 teaspoons of dried oregano

5 leaves of fresh basil (you can use dried if you don’t have fresh bt it won’t have the same flavour)

Method:

  1. Boil a small pan of water for the runner beans.
  2. Add the stock cube, paprika and oregano to a jug. Boil the kettle and add one pint of boiling water to the jug. Stir until the stock cube has dissolved.
  3. Chop the mushrooms into bite sized chunks. Top and tail the runner beans, remove the strings on the sides and chop in half. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan. Once the pan of water has boiled, add the runner beans and cook until tender (depending on the size of the runner bean pieces and how tender you prefer them to be this should be up to 15 minutes).
  4. Add the mushrooms to the oil and cook until soft. Once they are softened, add the pine nuts and basil leaves and stir for another minute. Add the risotto rice and stir until all of the grains are coated in the oil.
  5. Add most of the stock and turn down the heat so that the mixture simmers.
  6. Stir the mixture continuously, adjusting the heat if it bubbles too vigorously. Once the runner beans are cooked add them to the mixture.
  7. Once most of the stock had reduced down (after around 20 minutes), check a piece of rice. If it’s cooked it should be soft and swollen. If it is still al dente, add the rest of the stock and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. Check the rice again.
  8. Continue this process until the rice is cooked. In my experience it should only take the one pint of stock and around half an hour.
  9. Once most of the liquid has reduced turn up the heat until the texture turns from wet to creamy. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

Mushr, runner beans, pine nut risotto (1)

Review | Romeo’s Gluten Free Bakery, Islington

Please read the entire review for my star rating and conclusion at the end.

Last month I visited Islington in London with my boyfriend especially to try Romeo’s Bakery and Niche Food and Drink. I was very excited to see what was offered at both 100% gluten free eateries.

As it was an hour of train and tube travel plus a walk from Angel tube station to get to Romeo’s, we didn’t arrive in the cafe until around 11.30 am. It’s a small cafe, but beautifully set out with a counter for displaying the various quiches, pastries etc that they sell.

Romeo's Gluten Free Bakery
Romeo’s Gluten Free Bakery

We had a long look at the menu and could not believe the choice. They offer breakfast choices, sandwiches, quiches, pastries as well pizza and burgers. Here are the photos I took of the menu we were given:

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There was a lot to choose from, but as we were due at Niche for a three course dinner in a few hours, we both opted for a light brunch – pancakes with fresh fruit.

13.8.15 (5)

When they came out we were amazed to see three massive gluten free pancakes and a heap of fresh banana, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Our server gave us a bottle of maple syrup to use if we wanted it as well! The pancakes were £5.75 per person, but more than filled us up until dinner time. They were soft and tasted just like “normal” gluten pancakes. We were both very impressed with them and would happily have these for brunch again.

13.8.15 (4)

I was tempted to buy some quiche, pizza or a pastry to take away with us and try later, but we were very full from the pancakes and had dinner in a few hours and would have to carry it back with us on the tubes and trains home, so we decided not to. On the way out I spotted freshly baked bread and decided it would survive the travel home!

I asked the server what kinds of bread he had available and he told me the different flavours they had that day. I opted for a small white loaf which he wrapped and put into a bag for me. This cost me £4.95.

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I was very excited the next day to get the bread out and try it! My first impression when cutting into it was that the crust is very hard. The bread was – as you’d expect from the name – very small in height and so I had three pieces with mozzarella, tomato purée and basil on top. I put into the oven for around 10 minutes until the cheese melted and ate for my lunch.

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The bread tasted lovely, but I found the texture to be very close. It worked well toasted, but untoasted it was quite dry and tough to have as a sandwich.

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Although it was fantastic to have fresh and tasty bread again (for the first time in a year since going GF!) I personally wouldn’t buy this loaf again as it was rather expensive for what I got. It only stayed fresh for a couple of days – after about three days it was too stale to even cut.

Even though I found the bread to be too expensive for what it was I would highly recommend Romeo’s to everyone. Not only is it a safe haven for Coeliacs as it is 100% gluten free, it also offers a very wide range of freshly cooked food, catering well for vegetarians. The pancakes were perfect and I couldn’t fault them – we left Romeo’s with full bellies, feeling happy that we’d made the long journey.

★★★★☆

4 out of 5 stars for a wonderful 100% gluten free bakery with a good range of options, but slightly disappointing bread. Really worth a visit if you are in London!

Here you can find their Facebook page.

Recipe (GF, V) | Courgette Parmigiana

Being gluten free and vegetarian doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in some comfort food once in a while!

As always with my recipes the amounts that you will need may vary when you make it. This also applies to the cooking time.

Ingredients:

For the breaded courgette:

1 large courgette (in particular make sure the courgette is wide, as this will make better slices to be covered in breadcrumbs)

2 slices of Genius brown bread, blitzed

5 tablespoons of GF plain flour

1 egg, whisked

For the tomato sauce:

Valfrutta Passata (available at ASDA).
Valfrutta Passata (available at ASDA).

1 carton of passata (I used Valfrutta)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons of green pesto (I use Sacla)

2 teaspoons of tomato puree

Sprinklings of salt, pepper and dried oregano

For the cheese sauce:

Approx. 1/2 pint of skimmed milk

A knob of butter

1 dessert spoon of GF plain flour (or enough to mix into a paste with the melted butter)

Grated mature cheddar and vegetarian parmesan (to taste)

1 teaspoon of paprika (adjust to your personal taste)

Optional extras:

A couple of fresh basil leaves, torn

Method:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the tomato sauce in a small sauce pan and put on a low heat to simmer.
  2. For the cheese sauce I always use a simple roux recipe, just replacing the flour with gluten free flour. This can take practice, so my instructions may not work perfectly in every case (you may need to adjust the heat, or alter the vigorousness of stirring). In another pan melt the butter. Once it’s melted combine the flour until it becomes a paste. Keep stirring to make sure the butter and flour mixture  cooks but doesn’t burn! Once it’s combined evenly, add the milk slowly, stirring continuously. Once all of the milk is combined use a whisk to stir the mixture on a higher heat. If there are any lumps of flour use the whisk to separate them. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to thicken. Once it starts to thicken turn down the heat and add the grated cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted in the sauce. Add the paprika and turn off the heat.

Courgette parm (1)

3. Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 7. Blitz the bread until it is fine breadcrumbs. Whisk one egg. Place the breadcrumbs, whisked egg and flour into bowls. Heat sunflower or olive oil in frying pan.

Courgette parm (2)

4. Slice the courgette diagonally so that the slices are long and oval.

Courgette parm (3)

Coat each one in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs and place into the hot oil. Repeat with each slice and fry them for approximately 10 minutes on each side, or until the courgettes are softened.

Courgette parm (5)

5. Once the courgettes are fried place them into a large oven proof dish. Top with the reduced tomato sauce and then the cheese sauce.

Courgette parm (6)

6. Top with torn fresh basil leaves and a sprinkling of ground black pepper and place in the oven for half an hour. Serve piping hot and enjoy!

Courgette parm (7)

Courgette parm (8)

This works well as leftovers too! I had some the following day, reheated in the oven. I wrapped it foil and placed in the oven at Gas Mark 6 for around 15 minutes (the leftover portions were quite small and didn’t need long).

Why GBBO “Free From Week” is so important.

You may have seen that on the Great British Bake Off this week the bakers had to create bakes free from sugar, gluten and dairy in each of the three challenges. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it here!

Why is that so exciting for those of us with intolerances, allergies, auto-immune diseases or other dietary related conditions? I’ll tell you…

  1. Normalcy. Every week around 10 million people (source) are tuning into watch Bake Off. 1 in 100 of us have Coeliac disease not including people with gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, IBS and countless other conditions that means we have to eat “Free From” foods. I know that for me watching Bake Off can be torture, knowing that I cannot eat most of what they are making! But for this one week we can feel a bit more included and try out the bakes ourselves at home!
  2. Awareness. Although it was not especially highlighted in the episode, the Free From Week is bound to increase the public’s awareness of dietary requirements. You may have seen that past contestant Howard Middleton is bringing out a gluten free recipe book. Having been in the Bake Off tent in 2013 his book should help to raise awareness of the gluten free diet alongside the Bake off Free From Week.
  3. Community. This week’s Bake Off has certainly gotten everyone talking in the Free From community! The Facebook page “Coeliacs in the UK” is having it’s own gluten free Bake Off, replicating the bakes featured on the show week by week but using gluten free recipes. There is no judging or elimination in this – it’s just for fun and anyone can join in! On Twitter, gluten free manufacturers and bloggers have been following the bakes and making their own versions. It’s nice to see the Free From community expressing their love for baking and exchanging recipes with one another.

It goes without saying that I really hope this will be a regular feature on Bake Off for years to come! I think the impact of being included in this much loved TV show has had on the gluten free community has been fantastic and has produced lots of delicious new recipes.

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