Category Archives: Gluten-free

Raw Prune Truffles

Raw Date and Prune Truffles (0588)So this week I’ve been having a conversation in my head with this year. Yes, this year. It’s going something like this:

Me: Excuse me? 2016?

2016: Yes?

Me: Err…I think there’s some kind of mistake.

2016: Oh?

Me: Yes I think so. My calendar says it’s the end of May.

2016: So?

Me: I think that’s wrong.

2016: Really?

Me: Yes.

2016: Please wake up!

To be continued….

Continue reading Raw Prune Truffles

Spicy Cauliflower Curry

Cauliflower-Curry-(6421)

As I was going through many recipes this morning, trying to decide which one to put up on here, I began to feel nostalgic. This photo was taken by the lovely J quite some time ago, when yours truly wasn’t really interested in taking pictures to begin with. Ahh the memories! Don’t get me wrong. Even though taking my own photos is fun and it makes it easier to ‘own’ this blog, I do miss the days when we started out with bad lighting and sharing one camera and one lens. I cooked and J took all the pics, and it felt like teamwork. Now I cook and take the majority of the images. However stirring and mixing and pouring while handling the camera can be somewhat dangerous…when you’re me. I tend to spill things and/or burn myself in the process, so when this happens J steps in…when I ask for help. There are a few times when I’m in the zone (and they are the best days) where I feel I can handle anything. The camera might be smeared with an absurd amount of flour or chocolate, but that’s when I get a few decent pics. And I’m happy. I’m no expert, as you might have noticed…surely noticed…but I love learning and experimenting, and J is a brilliant teacher.

I made this curry or stir-fry, call it what you will, when I wanted something really quick for lunch. Cooking for Friends is not one of my favourite books. I rarely use it because I find that some recipes just don’t work, but this one does with a few changes. If you and your pals like spice then this one’s for you and it’s a good excuse to use some of that fenugreek that’s been sitting in your cupboard doing nothing. If it’s still fragrant then go ahead and use some of it here. It will transform your dish into something special together with the coriander. I love both.

  • 600g of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 100ml vegetable stock (or chicken stock, if you prefer)

Lightly toast the fenugreek, coriander and cumin seeds in a pan over medium-low heat. A couple of minutes will do. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the seeds, together with the salt and pepper, and grind everything into a fine powder.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil and add the chopped onion. Add a tiny amount of salt to draw some moisture out of the onion to soften. When the onion is soft, add the garlic, chilli and the ground spices and stir.

Add the cauliflower florets and the vegetable stock. Cook until the cauliflower is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed or evaporated.

Serve with rice or pasta, or as a side dish with fish or meat. Serves 4.

Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Cooking for Friends, HarperCollins, 2008)

Christmas Sweet Chestnut Soup – a.k.a. Imbuljuta

Imbuljuta-(6479)

As I write this I’m looking outside of my window and I can just barely see Guildford Cathedral peeping back at me. The fog is quite thick this morning but I am looking forward to some sun perhaps this afternoon. Well, hopefully anyway. This kind of weather brings anticipation for the festivities which are yet to come. I have to say that I prefer all the prep than the actual Christmas week itself. The cooking and baking is fun and in many ways comforting. This is an easy but delicious recipe to get you, and me started. I have been getting some questions on this traditional Maltese recipe, and here is my latest version which really works for me.

Imbuljuta (pronounced something like: Im-bul-yu-ta) is one of my very favourite things to eat. For me, it is the essence of Christmas. It also takes me back to my childhood and it revives the excitement that the season should bring. It used to be served and shared after midnight mass; unfortunately nowadays plain hot chocolate is served instead. Pity.

I apologise for having just one photo here, but I hope to include more in the coming weeks. Unfortunately I cannot find dried chestnuts in my neck of the woods, so I’ll have to wait until the next batch from Malta comes through!

  • 250g dried chestnuts
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate, please)
  • 3 tablespoons golden caster sugar
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole tangerine peel (There’s no need to cut this into pieces.)
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 500ml water
  • 50g dark chocolate, cut into chunks

Give the chestnuts a good rinse under water, discard any that seem off. Place the rest in a large bowl, cover them with a fresh batch of cold water and leave to soak overnight.

The next morning they will be ready to be cooked, but first remove any brown skin that remained attached to the chestnuts. Drain, put them in a heavy-based pan and cover with them with 500ml of cold water. Switch on the heat to medium and let them cook until they are tender, for I would say, around 40 minutes or so.

Add the cocoa powder, caster sugar, cinnamon stick, tangerine peel, cloves and dark chocolate. Give everything a stir and let the ingredients come together and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or so. Now it’s ready to be scooped into your favourite mug! This is gooey and rich so be careful! Serve hot. But boy, it’s good! Enjoy!

Rob x

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (gluten-free)

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8397)If you are one of those readers who likes to scour this blog for ideas you would know that I have already posted a photo of this simple beauty, sans recipe when I got Nigellissima to review. For all the criticism the book received, there are still valid recipes to be made from it and this particular one gets full marks from me. Incidentally recipes from Nigellissima are the most popular here. Since then, I have made this cake countless times without really thinking that it was gluten-free. Yes. It’s that good. So without thinking, when people were asking me for GF recipes I was stupidly stuck, actually stating that my Lime and Coconut Cake was my first ever recipe of the sort! I am Absentmindedness personified. I know it…and now you do too. I am rectifying this mistake by revisting the recipe, I made the cake again (there’s no cheating here) and took fresh pics, some better than others, and watch out because there will be more recipes of this kind hopefully very soon. Btw, just on a personal note, this is my 200th post on Chorizo & Thyme. I humbly thank you for your readership and friendship. Cheers to you!

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8391)

  • 50g good quality cocoa powder, sifted
  • 125ml boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 150g ground almonds*
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 150ml regular olive oil
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs

Grease a 22cm round cake tin** and line the bottom with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 170ºC/Gas mark 3.

Into a jug or bowl, sift the cocoa powder and whisk in the boiling water until you get a runny, albeit smooth, just pasty mixture. Whisk in the vanilla extract and leave this to one side to let this mixture cool a little.

Mix together the ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl tip in the sugar, olive oil and eggs and whisk or beat these with an electric beater until you have a pale yellow cream, light in texture.

While whisking, pour in the slightly cooled cocoa mixture. As soon as the mix turns evenly brown, slowly fold in the almond mix.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for around 45 minutes, until the centre of the cake looks a little damp and the sides are set, detached inwards from the tin itself.

Let the cake cool for a little while in the baking tin. Place on a cake dish and sprinkle away with icing sugar. It will approximately give you 12 slices.

This cake is light, soft and gooey, and very quick to make, with minimum fuss. My kind of recipe. Perfect with an espresso, or still warm with ice cream.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8396)

*Nigella suggests substituting the ground almonds with 125g of flour for less crumb in the cake. I have tried this and it certainly works for the whole amount, half that or even with just a few grams. Of course don’t do this if you want the whole thing to be gluten-free. Personally I like almonds so these days I keep it as is. It would be useful, and I will do this soon, to try a similar recipe recently sent to me by a friend of mine. It calls for dark melted chocolate, instead of cocoa powder. With this she told me that toasted hazelnuts work well too. I will post something on this in the next few weeks.

**You can also use a springform cake tin but to be honest I’m not a big fan. I use them when I have to. For this recipe you don’t. So don’t worry and work with what you have. Adjust timings according to your oven and size of whatever round tin you usually use.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8400)

All that remains to be said is…Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from Nigellissima, Chatto & Windus, 2012.)

Lime and Coconut Cake (gluten-free)

Lime and Coconut Cake (8386)

Excluding Nigella’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake from Nigellissima (recipe coming soon) I never tried making a gluten-free cake before this one. When I wrote something about this on my Facebook wall, I received quite a number of private messages (and public comments) asking me for gluten-free recipes. To be honest, I never imagined how much interest this was going to generate. I find that more often than not, many recipes claiming to be gluten-free, sugar-free or anything-free, are in fact gimmicky, as in shady, in their use of ingredients. During the past week I have spent hours searching for good ones and I only bookmarked a few.

Lime and Coconut Cake (8380)

I wasn’t going to post this one so soon, but I would never leave my readers and friends without this beautiful cake. A few hours after I baked it I gave a couple of slices to my neighbour, without having a taste myself. I cannot explain why but whilst mixing and making a mess in the kitchen I knew instinctively that this lime and coconut cake was going to work. I don’t know about you, but there are only a handful of established cooks I trust. The River Cottage gang is seriously making the list these days, and this particular recipe has become one of my go-tos. It’s effectively a lime version of the classic lemon drizzle cake, with rice flour. For the drizzle please make sure to use icing sugar instead of regular sugar though. You will get a smoother syrup this way.

  • 125g rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
  • 175g soft unsalted butter
  • Zest of 3 small limes
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lime oil (optional)
  • 50g dessicated coconut

For the drizzle:

  • 75g icing sugar
  • Juice of 3 limes

Grease and line a loaf tin (approx. volume 1 litre), making sure to leave extra parchment paper at the sides. It will be easier to lift the cake from the tin later. Preheat the oven to 175C/Gas mark 4.

Sift the rice flour, baking powder and xanthan gum (if you choose to use this) in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and lime zest, add the sugar and continue beating until you have a light and creamy mixture.

Add the eggs, one by one, adding 1 heaped tablespoon of the sifted rice flour mixture after each egg, and whisk this completely into the butter mixture before adding the second and third egg. Add the lime oil, if using.

Gently fold the remaining flour, preferably using a metal spoon. Fold in the coconut.

Tip the cake batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top, and bake for around 40 minutes, until it turns a nice golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. With the same skewer punch small holes into the surface of the cake, without reaching the bottom. Keep the cake in the tin.

Lime and Coconut Cake (8382)

Make the drizzle by heating the icing sugar and lime juice in a small saucepan. When fully dissolved, slowly pour half the liquid onto the cake, somewhat evenly. Cool the cake for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in the tin, and pour the remainder of the syrup. Leave the cake to cool completely, before taking it out onto a serving plate. Smoothness and syrupiness galore!

It will keep for around 5 days in an airtight container. but it will retain the moistness for a couple more days in the fridge. So don’t throw it away!

Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from River Cottage Handbook No. 8: Cakes, by Pam Corbin, Bloomsbury, 2011.)