Gluten Free Corn Bread

vo129cornbread5a

My two weeks Christmas break from posting was extended due to flu, tiredness caused by the flu and a hectic return to work where two weeks break led to three weeks of manic catch up where I fell home every evening barely capable of putting a gluten free frozen pizza in the oven before collapsing on the couch. January has not been a fun month.

To make things better and to use up ingredients in my cupboards before they all went off I went looking for something comforting and quick and found this recipe for Corn Bread from Ina Garten which I altered slightly, adapting it to be gluten free and also substituting crispy lardons of bacon for jalapeños.

This batter works very well with gluten free flour and rises like a soufflé when you add the wet ingredients to the dry which is very reassuring. It is delicious with stews, chilli and breakfast eggs or simply pulled out of the freezer, defrosted in the microwave, halved, toasted and slathered with butter. Golden, savory with bacon and cheese this is a very good bread to cheer this miserable month.

vo129cornbread1a

Ingredients

3 cups Doves Farm Gluten Free Flour

2 teaspoons of pysllium husk

1 cup fine yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup caster sugar

2 tablespoons for gluten free baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups milk

3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

8 ounces of butter, melted

8 ounces mature cheddar cheese, grated

1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts

1 cup of bacon lardons

vo129cornbread2a

Pre heat the oven to gas 4, 180, 350f

Butter and line with baking parchment a 9 x 11″ hight sided, baking tin or roasting dish

Fry the bacon lardons with the scallions over a medium heat until the bacon is cooked. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl combine the GF flour, psyllium husk, cornmeal, caster sugar, GF baking powder and salt, stir with a fork to break up any lumps.

In another bowl mix together the milk, eggs and melted butter and then our this batter in to the dry ingredients stirring with a wooden spoon until just combined, do not over mix.

Stir in two thirds of the grated cheese and the cooked bacon and scallions.

Scrape the batter in to the prepared baking dish and scatter the remaining cheese over the top, allow to sit a room temperature for 20 minutes.

vo129cornbread3a

Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes  until a cake tester comes out clean.

vo129cornbread4a

Allow to cool in the baking dish for a few minutes before placing the bread on a cooling rack. Once cooled cut in to large squares. Serve with soup, stew or chilli and wrap any left over squares in cling film and freeze.

Gluten Free Whiskey, Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding with a Caramel Sauce

VO58breadpudding4

A timely repost for the freezing weather that has descended upon us! The frosty, dark evenings are the perfect excuse to make this most comforting of deserts.

This is the good stuff, perfect winter comfort food for this delightful weather. Crisp and golden on top, soft and fluffy in the middle with a luschious caramel sauce poured over and pooling on the plate. I have nothing more to say except to urge you to try this, you will be happy you did.

I used one pack of Juvela white bread rolls. http://www.juvela.co.uk/product/fresh-white-rolls/. I find them to be great for French toast and bread puddings, anything that involves bread that needs to be soaked in custard. This bread is firm and will stand up to the soaking where a softer bread may disintegrate in to the custard. If you are making this with a thinly sliced GF bread you can cut the soaking time.

Bread & Butter Pudding

Ingredients
1 pack Juvela GF white rolls (five rolls) or your GF bread of choice
Butter, softened
Chunky Marmalade
I tablespoon whiskey
3 eggs
75 grams of sugar
275 ml of milk
60 ml of double cream
I tablespoon of sugar

VO58breadpudding1
1. If you are using the Juvela rolls then trim the top and bottom to expose the crumb for better custard absorbtion. Cut the rolls in half.
2. Butter each halved roll and then spread marmalade on half of the sliced rolls.
3. Sandwich the halved rolls back together using one buttered half and one spread with marmalade.
4. Butter the top and bottom of each sandwich.
5. Cut the sandwiches in half and arrange in a buttered oven proof dish
6. If you are using the rolls use a skewer or cake tester to poke some holes so the custard will penetrate the bread. If you are using sliced bread you can skip this step.
7. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar and whiskey.
8. Pour the custard over the bread and leave to sit for at least a half an hour while you pre- heat your oven to Gas 4 /180c/ 350.
9. If using the Juvela rolls you should leave your pudding to sit for at least an hour, basting the bread with the custard from the bottom of the dish very now and then. This is because these rolls are quite dense and you do not want the inside of your pudding to be dry.
10. Just before you pop the pudding in the oven sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar over the top
11. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the pudding has puffed up and is golden brown

VO58breadpudding2

Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Ingredients
2/3 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of water
1.2 cup of double cream
Pinch of salt
I tablespoon of whiskey

VO58breadpudding3
1. Put the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat gwently swirling the pan until the sugar dissolves
2. Cook without stirring or swirling until the sugar syrup turn a medium golden caramel, this should take about five minutes.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cream, the caramel will bubble up and then seize so return the pot top the heat and stir until the caramel dissolves and you have a smooth sauce.
4. Stir in the salt and the whiskey and pour in to a warmed jug. The caramel will thicken as it cools so if you want to pour it use it straight away. If you need to make it in advance you can rewarm the sauce to pouring consistency.

VO58breadpudding5

Serve this pudding in warmed bowls or plates with the caramel sauce and either pouring or whipped cream.

Cleriac Soup to comfort the soul

 

VO110celeriacsoup3

Well January is doing a great job of kicking all our asses isn’t. After a lovely break for Christmas I was all set to start back posting last week and then I woke to the terrible news that David Bowie had died and I just wanted to climb back in to bed, pull the duvet snug around me and listen to all his albums. By the end of the week, having just started to get used to a Bowieless world I clicked on a cryptic tweet teasing that something else horrible had happened only to be brought to the Guardian obituary for Alan Rickman and again the strong urge to just be done with the day hit me.

There isn’t much you can do when two of your heroes, crushes who have lasted from teen years to adulthood, two men whose voices you recognise at the first word they utter have passed away other than allow yourself a good cry, find sustenance in the treasure trove of work they left behind and eat something comforting that requires little effort.

I received two lovely cookbooks for Christmas and one of them is Nigel Slaters Notes from the Larder which is one of the most comfortable cook books to sit and read. You can hear hushed tones in every word. The recipes are sorted by month and trying to be seasonal I chose to cook the first soup in the January section which was a Celeriac and Bacon soup. Once a difficult and pricey vegetable to find, celeriac is now easy to source and I found mine in Aldi for €1.49, a bargain given the long lean month that is January. This soup is warming, flavoursome and has an interesting texture due to the addition of wholegrain mustard. I adjusted the recipe slightly to use shallots instead of onions as and a packet of diced pancetta instead of smoked bacon as that is what I had to hand and one of my 2016 kitchen resolutions is to use up every last scrap of food I can before going grocery shopping! I got two hearty dinner portions from this soup with enough left over to freeze for three lunches.

Celeriac & Bacon Soup from Nigel Slaters, Notes from the Larder

 
Ingredients

 
One good thick slice of butter
4 large shallots or 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
125 grams of smoked bacon cubed or 1 x 100 gram packet of pre diced pancetta
800grams of celeriac (one average sized celeriac was 830 grams unpeeled), peeled and coarsely grated. I used a regular box grater for this.
500ml of chicken stock, homemade if you have it, I did not so I used 2 Gluten Free stock cubes dissolved on 500 ml of hot water
Fresh Thyme leaves, about 2 teaspoons. I keep my thyme in a box in the freezer and the cold causes the leaves to fall off the stalk keeps them fresh, it is the only way to keep thyme.
1 litre of water
4 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard
A good handful of chopped fresh parsley
Double Cream, optional

VO110celeriacsoup1a

• Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat.
• Add the chopped shallots or onions and cook until soft and translucent , about 10 to fifteen minutes.
• Add the bacon or pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is golden and starting to crisp
• Stir in the grated celeriac and the thyme
• Pour over the chicken stock and the water , raise the heat and bring to the boil
• Reduce the heat, cover the pot and allow the soup to simmer for 30 minutes
• Remove the lid and stir in the mustard and the parsley, check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste, allow the soup to simmer uncovered for a further five minutes
• Use and immersion blender to liquidise the soup. If you don’t have one of these handy gadgets then use your blender and blitz the soup and few ladles at a time, taking care not to splatter yourself or your kitchen with molten soup.
• Now is the time to add a few tablespoons of double cream however the soup has a silky texture and doesn’t really need it.

VO110celeriacsoup2a
Serve with the best Gluten Free bread you can find and if you aren’t celiac with some good crusty bread while watching Truly Madly Deeply for the umpteenth time or while listening to your favourite David Bowie tune

Very Comforting Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese

VO73mac4a

Apologies for the disruption in our scheduling here over the last  two weeks but life life did its best to get in the way of blogging however finally we are moved! The moving is done, the boxing and sorting through things, mercilessly throwing out everything if you are me or hoarding old birthday cards and kids drawings if you are Dave. It was a uncomfortable experience for me because I cannot relax in an untidy house and every evening spent looking at towers of boxes and bags over flowing with books was an evening that worked on frazzling my last nerve.

VO73mac5a

We accidently / luckily packed all the cd’s except the Best of Queen, never a bad thing but I had Flash on repeat so many times, reliving the amazingness that is the final skate from Blades of Glory that Dave would have been justified in throwing many newspaper wrapped items at my head.

 

We trundled along getting things done and then on Friday night, our last night in the old house, while I was standing in the queue in Centra clutching the bottle of wine that was going to get me through the evening Dave pointed at the silent TV where news of Leonard Nimoy’s death was scrolling across the screen. I was gutted, I love sci- fi and that love began with the original series of Star Trek and that love began with Spock. Leonard Nimoy always seemed like a genuinely good guy, a writer, actor, director and photographer and I am sad that he is gone, he was a great example of how to live well in this world.
We spent our last night on our old couch watching Star Trek IV, The Undiscovered Country, I couldn’t have coped with Wrath of Kahn, while I sobbed in to my rice noodles and much needed glass of wine.

 
The night before I had made my second comforting dish as recommended by the internet, Mac and Cheese but I don’t think even this dish, deeply comforting though it is would have made me feel any better on Friday evening. This recipe, adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe, adapted in turn from an Ina Garten recipe was really good, dangerously good, I had to move the dish that held enough pasta for 4 – 6 people off the table so that the two of us wouldn’t finish the whole thing.
Much like the frightening amount of sugar in the brownies this dish calls for an unnerving quantity of cheese. Be brave, try not to think of your arteries and remember rather than serving this on its own you could serve it in small portions as a side or with a big healthy green salad.

Ingredients
Serves 6 (or two very stressed people dinner and lunch)
3 ounces unsalted butter
3 cups of milk
1/4 cup Doves Farm plain Gluten Free flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( add ¼ tsp if you like cayenne, I did)
9 ounces grated mature / strong white cheddar cheese
2 ounces of grated Gruyère
2 ounces of grated parmesan
8 to 9 ounces of Gluten Free macaroni ( half a one pound bag) I used the Heinz GF Macaroni I found in Tesco and it worked really well.
3 – 4 slices of Gluten Free white bread, crumbed.
Salt to taste and for the pasta water.

VO73mac1a

• Preheat your oven to Gas 5 / 190/375 f
• Butter a casserole or other oven proof dish, I used a 9” x 9” square dish.
• Heat the milk in a sauce pan over a low heat.
• Melt the butter in a high sided pan or sauce pan and when it starts to bubble add the ¼ cup of flour.
• Mix the flour and butter together and cook for one minute over a medium heat.
• Get a whisk and start ladling the hot milk in to the flour mix, whisking continuously.
• Add the milk a ladle at a time and keep whisking, be patient with this, it can sometimes be difficult to get a truly smooth GF béchamel sauce.

VO73mac2a
• When all the milk is added continue to cook, still whisking until the mix thickens.
• Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the black pepper, cayenne, nutmeg and 2 thirds of the grated cheese. I stirred my cheeses together in a bowl so they would be nicely mixed. Keep the remaining cheese for the crumb topping.
• Stir the sauce until everything is nicely combined and then add salt to taste. Set the sauce aside.
• Bring a big pot of salted water to boil and add your macaroni. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until al dente, the pasta will continue to cook in the sauce. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold running water.
• Stir the pasta in to the sauce and pour in to the casserole dish.
• Combine the GF breadcrumbs with the remaining cheese and layer this thickly over the pasta.
• Put the dish in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

VO73mac3a

Allow the mac and cheese to sit for a minute before serving but enjoy it while it is still meltingly, cheesy and delicious.

This is food that makes your soul and your stomach feel better and is as the internet advised, very comforting!