Gluten free potato cakes

I was inspired to try making some potato cake type snacks after trying ‘Glamorgan Sausages’ from a company called Goodlife. I hadn’t heard of this company before, but discovered a few of their products in the frozen aisle. I had been craving some kind of veggie burger/bean burger thing for a while – the café I used to work in B.A. (before allergy) used to have these amazing spicy coated bean burgers and I miss them – so I was looking at the veggie burgers when I came across Goodlife. The packaging of the Glamorgan sausages doesn’t jump out at you as being gluten free, but once I had scanned over the cardboard box I found the small gluten free symbol, and of course checked the ingredients just to be sure!

I cooked the so-called veggie sausages and I have to say they tasted great, but I would one hundred per cent have called them potato and vegetable croquettes if it were me who had been in charge of naming! So after eating these I decided to try making my own potato cake-y-ish-type of something.

If you have left-over boiled potatoes from last night’s supper, this is a super tasty snack or meal accompaniment to use them up!

For this I used:

About 5 medium sized new potatoes
1 carrot
1 large onion
A handful of peas
1 tbsp gluten free flour
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsb chilli powder
Salt & pepper

Image

I boiled the potatoes, waited until they were cool, then mashed them up in a large bowl. After this I grated in the carrot – I chopped off the ends but didn’t peel it. I finely chopped the onion and added that to the bowl, along with the peas. With my hands I mixed up the mixture a little, then added in the flour, spices, salt and pepper. After all the ingredients are well and truly mushed up together, heat oil in a frying pan. On a clean surface or chopping board, sprinkle a good covering of flour, and then grab small handfuls of the mixture and press into the flour, making them into small pancakes about 1cm thick. Fry them in batches and turn them until they have turned golden brown. Enjoy!

Image

Image

I wouldn’t say my version tasted very much like the ones I got from Goodlife – they were quite different – but I would definitely recommend trying some of their products if you come across them – they are all vegetarian and they do a selection of gluten, dairy and egg free food. I will definitely be looking out for more of their products!

Here is a link to their website. 

Advertisements

What’s all the fuss about quinoa?

Gluten free quinoa

I had tasted quinoa about a year ago in a salad – I liked it because of its nutty taste but I can’t say I was overwhelmed by it. I know it’s become quite a faddy thing recently with the rise of super foods and even gluten free diets becoming popular as a weight loss and healthy lifestyle method as opposed to just being for people who have severe dietary conditions. I don’t usually go in for these fad type things but I do like to try new things, especially if I think they can improve a gluten free diet. I’m not dismissing that quinoa is tasty and some people have genuinely taken on eating it for good now, I just think it has sprung up a little too quickly so I was a bit sceptical of it before I tried it again.

My mum had seen quinoa flour on the internet and she is always trying to buy new flours and gluten free products to help make my eating easier and more enjoyable. She bought a bag (a REALLY big bag) ready for me to try cooking with when I next visited home. All the recipes I had seen were more specialist things as I understood quinoa adds a distinct texture and flavour, so to use it as an addition as opposed to substitute flour. I decided to make quinoa pancakes as I had definitely seen recipes for these and it was a quick and easy thing to try out the flour with and it would give me an idea of the taste and texture of it for if I wanted to cook more with it. I measured ¼ pint of milk and the same volume of the quinoa flour with one egg and whisked. I cooked one just as you would with any other pancake in a frying pan – so far, everything seemed normal. When I tasted the pancake, I didn’t initially like it, however it had a nice, different after taste – as I said it was quite nutty. I decided that quinoa pancakes alone weren’t too great so experimented with the mixture, adding apricots to some, and raisins and almonds to the rest. These were better as they added much more to the pancakes and cut up the texture which was pretty dry. I had maple syrup with the almond and raisin ones which was lovely, however you wouldn’t want to eat too many of these pancakes as the dry texture could stick in your mouth. My mum suggested making savoury pancakes with quinoa flour such as corn fritters which I agreed would have been really nice, especially with bacon. I’m not sure that I’ll be having quinoa pancakes again, but I will definitely experiment with baking different things with the flour.

Quinoa

Gluten free in Glasgow – Little Italy

Little Italy – Byres Road

Image

As I live in Glasgow’s West End, I’d been wanting to go to this great looking Italian restaurant/pizza bar for quite a while as I had heard they do gluten free pizzas, but every time I thought about going it was too late or something else got in the way. So this morning my boyfriend Rossi and I decided to go there for lunch, as we thought it would be easy enough to get a table – even though it’s the weekend it’s still only lunch time. We got there to find the place jam-packed with people – it was a lovely atmosphere with loads of people crowded into a small place which for me is always a good sign as you know the food is obviously sought after! We decided it would be easier just to get pizza to go as we could have been waiting for quite some time for a table and we were super hungry. So I ordered a small ham and pineapple pizza (my favourite) and Rossi ordered a plain cheese and tomato large pizza and together they came to £15 which I thought was pretty good, as from a big chain like Domino’s or Pizza Hut you’d probably pay that amount for just one pizza. As we waited for our pizzas to be made, we could watch the guys freshly making the pizzas which slightly worried me as I couldn’t see a clear separate area for the gluten free pizzas. We got our pizzas after waiting about 10 minutes which I’m sure within that time at least one table would have become free but never mind, we went home and started to eat our pizzas. They were really good and my boyfriend (who is part Italian) said it was probably one of the best pizzas he’d had outside of Italy. Mine was pretty great too, apart from they’d forgotten to put the ham on but luckily I had some at home so was able to just add it myself. I would definitely go there again, but next time hope to get a table, the price was very reasonable and it’s great to know you’re getting fresh, hand-made quality gluten free food!

http://www.littleitalyglasgow.com/index.html

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies recipe!

These are probably the best gluten free chocolate chip cookies I’ve had – they’re so simple to make and they are amazing warm straight out of the oven. For me, foods with chocolate in is quite difficult and adds another factor to me finding foods I can eat because I’m allergic to soya, and it just so happens that practically all chocolate you can pick up in a supermarket will have soya lecithin in as an emulsifier. If I am desperate to get some soya free chocolate I will go to a health food or organic shop as most will stock some varieties of chocolate which don’t contain soya (sometimes the dairy free options), but if I’m honest, I usually just buy regular and put up with the effect as I’m not too badly allergic – however saying this I only have chocolate on rare occasions. You can alter the amount of chocolate in this recipe if you don’t want them too sweet, or if you want them super chocolatey you can add in a tablespoon of chocolate powder.

Image

Ingredients:

5oz caster sugar
4oz light brown sugar
9oz gluten free self-raising flour
5oz butter
4oz white chocolate
4oz milk chocolate
vanilla essence

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180 Measure out the butter into a bowl, and put this bowl in the microwave for about 10 seconds, just to loosen the butter up a bit. Now cream together both the types of sugar with the butter until completely mixed. Gradually add in the flour, and then add the beaten egg. Cut up the chocolate roughly and add it in. Roll small balls of the mixture about the size of a ping pong ball and place them spaced evenly on a tray with baking paper on – you will probably need 4 or 5 trays for this amount of mixture but they cook so quickly you can re-use the trays. I like to put a block of chocolate on top of each cookie too. Cook each batch for about 8 minutes. Serve warm for an extra specially magic taste!

Image

Gluten free corn fritters recipe!

Most people that I have made this for have started by having never heard of corn fritters and thinking they sound weird. But they end up loving them. They are basically savoury pancakes with sweetcorn in them – I have added fried onion and cut up bits of bacon to them before, and my sister likes adding some fresh mozzarella. Basically anything goes when making these diverse little wonders 🙂
Sometimes I make it as a side, or just have corn fritters with either sausages or bacon – the salty-ness of the meat compliments the sweetness of the corn.

Ingredients:

4oz self-raising gluten free flour (alternatively use plain flour and ½ tsp. baking powder)
1 egg
4 fluid oz. milk
1 fluid oz. water
A generous helping of salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tin of corn
sunflower or vegetable oil for frying

 

Method:

Use a measuring jug to mix these in, as it is easiest when it comes to pouring the mixture out and you will need one to measure the liquids. First pour in the milk and water, then sieve in the flour. Add the egg, salt and pepper then stir with a metal spoon. Drain the tin of corn, then tip it into the mixture and mix gently. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat and pour the mixture in dollops of three or four, depending on how big you want them. You may need to add more oil to the pan with each batch to stop them drying out. Fry as you would with pancakes or until you can see the edges getting golden brown, then flip over and fry on each side until cooked and golden brown.

Enjoy!

Image

A little bit of dirt is good for you!

An article has just been published in The Telegraph (you can find it here – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/dietandfitness/4703957/The-Allergy-Guide-too-clean-for-our-own-good.html#) which states that a possible reason for the huge and continuous rise in people suffering from allergies goes hand in hand with society’s obsession with cleanliness and getting rid of germs. I’m not dismissing this claim, as I fully believe it, although I do feel a bit unlucky – I’m allergic to wheat, soya, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, coconut and animal hair, yet on a scale of one to clean freak, I’d say I don’t score very highly! Where I don’t go around eating dirt off the floor, I don’t see anything wrong with preparing food without wearing latex gloves, amongst other ridiculous things people do these days. 

I fully believe that this germ-free world has something to do with people developing so many allergies and our bodies just not being able to process things any more, and the figures are shocking – The Telegraph states that the number of people being diagnosed with allergies is growing by 5% every year, with the most common allergies being wheat, gluten, eggs, milk, nuts and shellfish. 

The awareness of these allergies is no doubt great for the people already suffering from them – I notice new gluten-free products popping up weekly – but it makes you think, when will it stop? When it is suggested that another reason people are so allergic these days – whereas 40 years ago if you told someone you couldn’t have wheat you’d have been laughed at – it seems it must be somewhat down to processed foods or some kind of manufacturing process.