Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Provencale Prawn Soup (aka the Greenhouse Soup)

I thought it was bad enough going gluten free, but when I recently found out that fellow GF Blogger, Karina ( of Gluten Free Goddess fame) has a whole, HUGE list of 'no-no's', it made me realise how easy I have it, really. By The Bay challenged the GF community to come up with new or adapted recipes that would be suitable for Karina and the first appropriate one of mine that sprung to mind was this one.

This Provencale Prawn Soup is a GF adaptation of a recipe from the June issue of delicious. Magazine (to which I recently treated myself with a subscription). It uses so many of the vegetables that are in season right now, that I re-christened it the Greenhouse Soup. While the original recipe calls for prawns, I think a good version could also be made using chicken or firm white fish with the appropriate stock. Of course you could always keep it fully vegetarian as well.

Provencale Prawn Soup

3 tbsp Olive Oil
15 Large Cooked Prawns (peeled, tails intact, shells reserved)
1 tsp Tomato Puree
100 ml Water
1/2 Large Red Pepper (deseeded and chopped)
1 Large Ripe Tomato (deseeded and chopped)
1/4 Small Cucumber (deseeded and chopped)
1 Large Clove Garlic
1/2 Clove Garlic (crushed)
150 ml Vegetable Stock
Approx 6 Cherry Tomatoes
1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper
1 Pinch Sugar
2 tsp Fresh Basil Pesto (I make my own with Basil, Pine Nuts, Garlic and Olive Oil)
Basil Leaves to garnish

1) Heat 2 tbsps olive oil in a large pan. Add the prawn shells and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree, cover with the water and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Press through a fine sieve to leave a smooth 'stock' and clean out the food processor.

2) Add the chopped pepper, tomato, cucumber, garlic clove and a little olive oil to the processor and blend until smooth. Remove the tails from 3 of the prawns and blend with the vegetables. Transfer to a pan, stir through the prawn stock and heat gently.

3) Mix the prawns and cherry tomatoes with the crushed garlic and a little olive oil. Season well before roasting or grilling for 5 minutes.

4) Stir the cayenne, sugar and seasoning into the soup and divide between 2 bowls. Top with the prawns, cherry tomatoes, a teaspoon of pesto and seasoning as required.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Pasta, Spinach and Three-Cheese Frittata

What do you do when you've got loads of food in your fridge but you really can't decide what to do with it? I had that dilemma this weekend - I had the ingredients for loads of recipes I'd planned earlier in the week but didn't fancy any of them; I was in the mood for pasta or eggs. I decided to compromise and put together a truly amazing pasta frittata with spinach and ricotta. Result? It's now officially a 'favourite'. Unfortunately it's not exactly the most health-tastic, so it'll probably be a short while before I do it again...

Oh, I also want to say that I've found the most AMAZING GF pasta! Rizopia make theirs from brown rice and unlike most other GF pasta I've tried, this has the right 'mouthfeel', tastes great and doesn't disintegrate into a sloppy mess in the pan when you cook it. Really, really good!

Pasta, Spinach and Three-Cheese Frittata

150g Pasta
200g Frozen Spinach
1 medium Onion (chopped finely)
4 large Eggs (lightly beaten together)
2 heaped tbsps Ricotta
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
Mozzarella (sliced)
1 handful Fresh Basil (chopped very finely)
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Butter
1 clove Garlic (minced)
1 pinch Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper

Does 4 servings

1) Start cooking your pasta in slightly salted water.

2) Fry the garlic and onion until just going golden. Add the spinach and nutmeg and continue to cook until softened. Stir through the basil, ricotta and parmesan and season to taste.

3) Drain the cooked pasta and add the spinach mixtures - stir well.

4) In a clean frying pan, melt the butter until it just starts to froth. Tip in the pasta and arrange so it is reasonably level but not over-flattened.

5) Carefully pour in the egg mixture so it is evenly distributed through the pasta. Arrange slices of mozzarella on the top and finish with salt, pepper and a little grated parmesan.

6) Allow to cook slowly on the hob for approximately 5 minutes before finishing under the grill to cook and brown the top.

I had mine with a garlic seafood medley and salad.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

I'm Loving... Risotto

I admit it. I've been on somewhat of a risotto binge recently...
Until recently, I'd never really cooked the stuff but when shopping last month, I picked up a box of Arborio rice and figured I'd give it a go. And then another go. And then another because the first ideas were just so nice.

The wonderful thing about risottos is that you can put near enough anything you like into them and they're really very simple to make. Depending on your ingredients, they can be light or rich and work as either side dishes or as main courses in their own right. While my main picture is of a chicken variation, I've also had huge success with other ones as well. Below is my recipe for a basic Risotto 'Blanco' - do try making variations such as Mushroom risotto, Pea and Smoked Mackerel risotto or my Personal Trainer, Emma's favourite, Asparagus, Pea and Mint risotto - absolutely perfect for this time of year!

Risotto Blanco

1 cup Arborio Rice
1 Onion (chopped finely)
1 clove Garlic (minced)
2 cups Chicken (or Vegetable) Stock
1 heaped tbsp Parmesan
1 tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper

1) In a saucepan, melt the butter and slowly saute the garlic and onion together until soft (but not brown). [If using meat or mushrooms, I add them now]. Add the rice and continue to fry gently for a couple of minutes.

2) Add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the pan and stir every few minutes until the rice absorbs the liquid and it 'just' tender - it should still have a little 'bite' to it. (You may need to add more stock during cooking). [If using vegetables, I tend to add them towards the end of cooking so they aren't overdone].

3) Stir through the parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. The finished consistency should be tender grains that are almost creamy.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Feta, Potato and Onion Bread

I hadn't planned on posting this recipe, let alone making it, but when I was stuck yesterday on what to have for lunch, I came up with these absolutely delicious bread rolls and knew I'd have to share them. The recipe is largely based on Delia Smith's Goat's Cheese, Potato and Rosemary bread, but has been 'gluten-free-ised'. The bread has a much more Mediterranean feel in the feta and herbs; I also added a good spoonful of tomato puree to the dough. The best bit? I've got 2 more left over for lunch today and I might even make some French Onion Soup to go with them!

Feta, Potato and Onion Bread

175g Gluten Free Flour (rather than muck around with multiple flours, I'm more than happy with Doves Farm GF plain flour)
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Medium Potato (approx 175g)
1/4 Small Onion (chopped finely)
About 10 basil leaves (chopped finely)
1/2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Wholegrain Mustard
80g Feta Cheese (cut into 1cm cubes)
1 Large Egg
3 tbsp Milk
1 tbsp Tomato Puree

Preheat oven to 190 Celcius

1) Sift the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.

2) Peel the potato and grate into the flour using a rough grater. Add the cheese, onion and herbs and stir to combine everything.

3) Mix together the egg, milk, tomato puree and mustard and pour into the flour mixture. Combine to form a rough, soft dough.

- split into quarters, shape each quarter into slightly flattened balls, dust with flour and bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden.

- Flatten the dough into a 6" round, dust with a little extra flour and bake for approximately 40 minutes until golden.

Serve warm - also good reheated in the oven the next day or frozen to keep for a later date!