Cooking for a Gluten Free Goddess

Now here’s a challenge …

cornucopia.jpgThe Gluten Free Goddess recently discovered that she has a plate-ful of other allergies and intolerances:

Cow’s milk/cheese/whey/casein/goat’s milk, egg whites/yolks, chicken/turkey, gluten, peanuts, almonds/walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, lemon, avocado, pineapple, papaya, green beans, kidney beans, oysters.

Gluten is familiar – but can we create a meal without any of these things? Gluten Free By the Bay has challenged bloggers to come up with a recipe that Karina could eat. Always up for a challenge, here’s my offering:

If Karina came round to my house, I’d cook black-eyed bean cakes with ginger onion marmalade, followed by drunken fruit.

I’m hoping that since only kidney beans and soybeans were listed, that Karina would be able to eat black-eyed beans and lentils – I would phone her to check first! Also, my menu assumes that sugar and alcohol are OK – something else to check. Honey would make a good replacement in the onion marmalade and the drunken fruit dish; you could use a simple stock (check it is gluten free!) in place of the white wine for the marmalade.

And here are the details:

BlackEyed Bean Cakes with Ginger Onion Marmalade

(adapted from a recipe by Delia. Delia is one of the most famous cookery writers here in the UK – so well known, that she no longer needs a surname, like Madonna. Her recipes are not aimed at the gluten free – hence the adaptations, but always work well).

Ingredients for the beancakes

4 oz blackeyed beans, either soaked overnight or boiled for 10 mins and soaked for 2 hours. Or just buy tinned ones!
4 oz green or brown lentils, rinsed and picked over for small stones
1 bay leaf
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped finely
1 carrot, chopped finely
1 red pepper, chopped finely
1 green chilli, seeds removed and chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon sundried tomato paste
2 tablespoons corn meal or polenta or gluten free flour (to coat and make outsides crispy)
salt and pepper

Method for the beancakes

Put the drained beans and lentils in a big pan and add 1 pint water, the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs. Simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the beans and lentils are completely soft. If there’s any water left, drain. Take out the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

Mash them up with a fork or potato masher and season.

During that 45 minutes, you could be chopping up all the vegetables and then frying them gently in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until they are golden brown at the edges. Stir in the mace, chopped thyme and tomato paste, and then combine the vegetable mixture with the drained bean mash.

Make 12 round cakes (making your hands wet helps), put them on an oiled plate or baking tray and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When you’re ready to cook the beancakes, coat them in the corn meal or gluten free flour. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the frying pan, and then fry the beancakes for about 3 minutes on each side (in batches), adding more oil if needed. Keep them warm until all the beancakes are ready.

I would serve this with the ginger onion marmalade (see below), a big green salad, and/or Jamie Oliver‘s Smashed Tomato and Olive salad, which is basically 4 parts of mixed tiny tomatoes (red cherry, yellow cherry, baby plum etc) to 1 part of black olives (stones in). Bash the tomatoes and olives so that they split in a rough fashion – but not pulverised! – pull out the olive stones, let the olives and tomatoes mingle their flavours for a while, add lots of fresh basil and some rocket, and serve with a good homemade dressing.

Ingredients for the Ginger Onion Marmalade

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
12 oz red onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 rosemary sprigs
8 fl oz dry white wine
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dark soft brown sugar
salt and pepper

Method for the Ginger Onion Marmalade

Peel and slice the onions into rings and fry them with the rosemary in the olive oil until they are golden. Add the white wine and white wine vinegar, brown sugar and ginger, salt and pepper. Simmer everything very gently for about an hour to an hour and a half. Almost all the liquid should be gone. Take out the rosemary before serving.

Drunken Fruit

What fruit do you have in the house? Take a variety of fruits, fresh and dried (obviously avoiding those on Karina’s no-no list) and peel and slice into bite sized pieces. Apples, pears, bananas, plums, dried fruit such as figs, apricots and raisins, and it is good to use a few oranges if you can (try and remove as much of the white pith as you can). Again, lemons are on the no-no list, so I’d need to check that other citrus fruit was OK.

Line a roasting tin (or high-sided baking sheet) with foil, and spread the fruit on this. The foil is simply to make the washing up easier.

Add some brown sugar (tablespoon or two) – I like molasses sugar, but I know that it isn’t to everyone’s taste – and a splash or two of orange juice (if OJ is OK – other fruit juice if not). If you like, you could add a sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon. Again, you could add a splash or two (couple of tablespoons, perhaps) of sweet alcohol now – marsala, a sweet sherry, a dark rum, even Grand Marnier if you wanted to pick out the orange flavour. Just as long as you have some sugar and some liquid, this should be fine.

Cook in the oven for about half an hour at about 180C. The fantastic thing about this dish is it is different every time and is very forgiving.


Gluten Free Sachertorte

A classic cake for Easter – what is it about Easter and chocolate?

Ingredients – for the cake
200g or 7oz of dark chocolate (use a good one – say 72% cocoa solids)
5 eggs
250g or 8oz caster sugar
2 tsps instant coffee (dissolved in 2 tblsps hot water)
150g or 5oz ground almonds

Ingredients – for the icing

150g or 5oz dark chocolate as above
50g or 2oz butter
1 tblsp golden syrup

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas Mark 4, and grease a 9in non-stick spring-release cake tin.


Gently melt the chocolate.
Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks and sugar together until thick and creamy.
Add the ground almonds, dissolved coffee and melted chocolate to the yolk/sugar mix and stir well.
Whisk the whites until they are stiff, and fold into the almond/egg yolk mix.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and cook for 30 minutes, then cover the top with foil and cook for another 20 minutes.
When cooked, leave in the tin for 5 minutes and then release from the cake tin ring. Let it cool completely on the cake tin base, then slide off gently with a palette knife.
Melt the icing ingredients together gently on a very low heat and mix until smooth and glossy.
Spread the icing all over the cake, and let it set for at least an hour before serving.

You can decorate this with mini eggs or with fluffy Easter chicks, if that’s what you fancy.

Gluten Free Parmesan Chicken Escalopes

Following on from the major triumph of Saturday evening’s meal cooked by Daughter 1, Daughter 2 decided she wanted to cook on Sunday evening. She chose the recipes – naturally, this required yet another trip to the supermarket.

Gluten Free Parmesan Chicken Escalopes (enough for 3 children)

About 50g of gluten free breadcrumbs (we just crumbled some gluten free bread)
30g of Parmesan, grated
2-3 chicken breasts (depending on the age and hunger levels of the children)
About 40g of gluten free flour
1 egg, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying


Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.

Flatten the chicken (we used two sheets of clingfilm and a rolling pin) – we could have made it a bit flatter, if we’d been braver, and the cooking would have been quicker.

Coat the chicken in the gluten free flour, then in the beaten egg, then in the gluten free breadcrumbs.

Fry in the oil until golden and cooked through. Make sure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Daughter 2 is 9 – I did the frying, but she did the rest. I recommend using three wide and deep bowls for the flour/egg/crumb process – she dropped the chicken into the flour, and because gluten free flour tends to be finer and lighter than normal, we ended up in a snowstorm.

She chose to serve this with tortilla chips and broccoli, and Vanilla Milkshake.

Vanilla Milkshake (this will serve 2-3 children)

500ml milk
100g vanilla icecream
1 tsp vanilla extract


Add the vanilla extract to 100ml of the milk in a small pan, and bring to the boil. Then simmer for about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Just before serving, blend the vanilla milk with the rest of the milk and the icecream, and serve.

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Pudding

Not to be outdone by her older sister, who cooked a main course on Saturday night, Daughter 2 (aged 9) decided to cook the dessert for Saturday evening.

She chose to make a chocolate fudge pudding. This recipe is based on one from Antoinette Savill’s Allergy-Free Cooking for Kids (aff).

Allergy Free Cooking for Kids - Antoinette Savill
Chocolate Fudge Pudding

100g gluten free flour
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
5 tablespoons of cocoa powder
50g chocolate chips
120g butter
120g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g soft brown sugar
320ml boiling water

Beat together the butter and caster sugar and when light and fluffy, beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and mix – then add the chocolate chips.

Spoon the mixture into a greased oven proof dish (about 8-9in square), and spread it out evenly.

Mix the brown sugar, remaining cocoa and water together, and pour it over the mixture in the dish.

Cook the pudding for about 30 minutes at 180C.

Gluten Free Pasta E Fagioli

Wow – another milestone reached and passed at great speed.

Daughter 1 (our coeliac) decided on Saturday that she wanted to cook the evening meal on Saturday night – a first. She chose the recipe herself, and came with me to buy the ingredients (naturally she’d chosen something for which I didn’t have everything she needed) – and then she cooked it.

It was eaten by all with great gusto – an absolute triumph for someone just turned 11.

Pasta e fagioli

1 onion, chopped finely
2 sticks of celery, diced (about 1cm)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 sprigs of rosemary (strip the leaves and chop finely)
4 rashers of bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
400g tin of beans (we used borlotti with great success)
200g tin of chopped tomatoes
600 ml of vegetable stock (check this is gluten free – we use Marigold)
80g small gluten free pasta shapes (we used Schar’s tiny rings and letter shapes – but macaroni sized would be fine)
a handful of flatleaf parsley, chopped
grated parmesan to serve, if desired


Cook the onion, celery, garlic, rosemary and bacon in the olive oil in a deep pan for a few minutes. Puree or mash half the beans and add to the pan with the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta and drain it.

Add the pasta, remaining beans and the parsley to the stew and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. It should be like a chunky soup or stew. Season to taste, and serve with grated parmesan if you would like.