I’m always looking out for new, interesting and easy ways to incorporate more oily fish into our diet. And as much as I like an occasional piece of salmon, I do find it a very rich fish. I’m also aware how important it is to use more sustainable oily fish like mackerel, sardine and herring, rather than farmed fish.
Fresh mackerel rillettes
3 medium fresh mackerel
a splash of white wine or vermouth (optional)
2 tbsp dijon/wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp Greek yogurt or crème fraîche
2 spring onions, finely chopped
4 cornichons, very finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped (optional) fresh dill, finely chopped, to taste (optional)
- Fillet the mackerel or ask the fishmonger to do it for you.
- Place the fillets in a pan, add just enough water to cover and add a little white wine or vermouth, if desired.
- Bring up to a simmer then turn OFF the heat, cover with a lid and leave for 20 mins.
- Drain the fish, and remove the skin and any remaining bones. Set aside to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Add the flaked mackerel and mix well. Taste, add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning, adding more lemon or olive oil if needed.
- Chill until serving with a little dressed watercress salad, or cucumber sticks and GF crackers if desired.
*Easy (holiday) version – use 2 cans of mackerel in brine instead of the fresh mackerel and start the recipe from step 4.
I’m thrilled to announce that I’m going to be teaching a few gluten free baking classes for friends old and new in Singapore next month. There are still a few spaces left for some of the classes, so if you know anyone in that part of the world who might be interested then please let them know!
The classes I’m running are:
- Gluten free, dairy free, egg free on June 13
- Lisa’s favourites on June 14
- French Bakes on June 15
You can find booking details on the One Degree Gluten Free website here.
Here’s a lovely loaf to serve for breakfast, toasted or plain, or later in the day with cheese. I made it as mid-morning taster for my students today. It got a thumbs up all round – chewy, crusty…just like REAL bread!
It is based on the seeded wholegrain loaf found here. Measure the grains out and soak them during the day, finish it off in the evening, bake and there you are – a delicious breakfast to wake up to! Make it in a shallow square tin and cut it horizontally into two layers to maximise the crust.
As always use my suggestions for the fruit and nuts as just that, a suggestion only. I happen to love figs with their gritty chewiness, but I know they are not everyone’s cup of tea. Another time I make it I might use apricots and almonds, or cranberries, pistachios and pumpkin seeds (a combination that for me always screams Christmas!). One thing’s for sure – there will be a next time!
Did I mention it makes fabulous crusty, chewy toast?!
This loaf keeps well and lasts about 4-5 days at room temp. Do please leave me a comment if you make it.
Fruit and nut breakfast loaf
90g (1/2 cup) raw buckwheat groats
100g (1/2 cup) uncooked brown rice
90g (1/2 cup) uncooked millet
water + 1tbsp cider vinegar for soaking
20g psyllium husk
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp sea salt
40g whole hazelnuts
40g dried figs, chopped
20g raisins or sultanas
knob of butter
1. Place all the wholegrains in a large bowl, cover with water, add 1 tbsp cider vinegar, stir and leave overnight 12-24 hours to soak.
2. The next day drain and rinse the grains thoroughly, then drain well again and place in a food processor or Thermomix.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C Fan). Grease a 20cm square tin with butter.
4. Measure the water in a small bowl, add the psyllium, stir and set aside for 5 mins to gel.
5. Place the 2 tbsp vinegar, bicarb, salt and gelled psyllium in with the grains and process until fairly smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally.
6. Add the nuts and fruit and mix to combine.
7. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a wet spatula. Score with a blade.
9. Bake for 60 mins then remove from the oven, remove from the tin and return to the oven shelf (without a tin) for a final 20 mins to brown the bottom crust.
11. Remove and cool on a cooling rack until completely cold before slicing. Slice horizontally to make larger slices.
Rhubarb is a quintessential taste of spring. The first pink stalks are eagerly awaited in the markets in France from late April onwards. Bizarrely the French seem to prefer mammoth-sized stalks, so a friendly chat with the stallholder in my local market usually results in him agreeing to pick me out all the tender thin stalks that his compatriots aren’t so keen on. The French also recommend peeling their rhubarb – something that has never made sense to me, as along with the skin you remove most of that gorgeous colour.
If you want to make even more of that amazing colour when you’re poaching rhubarb then you have a few options – you can add a shot of cassis to the poaching syrup or alternatively another trick I read about on the lovely Mad about Macarons blog recently is to add some dried hibiscus flowers to the pan.
This recipe came about as I wracked by brains trying to think of a suitable dessert for a Spring-themed charity lunch I held at home recently. I love flat Italian style polenta cakes – they are so delicious warm from the oven, but are also very easy to dress up for dessert with a little crème fraîche, crème anglaise or ice cream.
It was a recipe certainly worth working on, as everyone absolutely loved it at the lunch. I plan to make it again later in the year when the apricots are in the market, although I might swap the orange and cardamom flavourings for lemon zest and a little amaretto. If you make it, do leave a comment!
By the way, I have made this using the ‘instant’ type polenta that is finely ground and also the coarser maize grits, and both worked well.
Rhubarb, almond and polenta cake (serves 8+)
300g young thin stalks of fresh rhubarb, washed and cut into 2cm pieces
2 tbsp demerara sugar
175g unsalted butter, softened
150g golden caster sugar
200g ground almonds
4 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange (untreated), finely grated
juice of half an orange
75g polenta, fine or coarse
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
seeds from 10 cardamom pods, ground in a pestle and mortar
2 tbsp flaked almonds
- Mix together the rhubarb and demerara sugar and set aside for an hour.
- Grease the sides and base of a 9” 22cm spring from cake tin. Line the base with a circle of baking parchment.
- After the rhubarb has macerated, drain it in a sieve over a bowl and then preheat the oven to 160C (140C fan).
- Beat together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the ground almonds, and then the eggs, one at a time.
- Fold in the vanilla, orange zest and juice.
- In a small bowl combine the polenta, baking powder, salt and ground cardamom.
Fold this dry mixture into the wet one.
- Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Arrange the drained rhubarb evenly over the surface and then scatter the flaked almonds over.
- Bake for about 75 mins until the centre springs back when touched and the mixture is dry to the point of a knife or skewer. Cover the top loosely with foil if it is browning too much for the last 15 mins.
Best served warm.
Thankfully eating ‘sans gluten’ in the City of Light has never been easier. Visitors (and lucky folk like me who live there) can now track down gluten free goodies pretty much all across the city. What started as a small enclave of gluten free restaurants in the 10th arrondissement has spread out far and wide – from GF eclairs at Mon Eclair near the Arc de Triomphe, to GF waffles at Yummy and Guilt Free near the Hotel de Ville and even a tartine à l’avocat (avocado toast) to be found at Café Mareva near the Canal St Martin.
The coffee scene is improving here too with many independent coffee shops now being supplied by the Atelier des Lilas who produce excellent GF baked goods like madeleines, brownies, quiches and bread for them as well as for restaurants and the Grande Epicerie food store.
If after a busy day sightseeing you prefer to eat at home in your AirBnB accommodation, there are plenty of options too. You can find GF groceries – breads, pasta, cookies etc in most supermarkets now. Brands such as Schär, Carrefour and Genius are stocked in mainstream supermarkets but there are some more interesting and, it has to be said, better quality products from smaller producers in the organic ‘bio’ stores like ‘Bio Co-op’ ‘Bio C Bon’ and ‘Naturalia’ across the city.
It’s worth knowing that apart from less expensive brasseries and chain restaurants, many small restaurants will only offer lunch between about 12h and 14h and dinner between 19h and 22h and be closed at other times. Outside of Paris there isn’t the all-day eating culture to be found in many large cities of the world like London and Singapore.
If you eat in small independent restaurants then look out for the ‘fait maison‘ symbol. It means the restaurant makes things from scratch, meaning they are likely to be far more knowledgeable about what is actually going into your food.
Consider trying a ‘steak frites’ here – the national dish! The French do not have the habit of deep frying very much apart from ‘frites’ so chips/French fries can be a safe option (but, as always, eater beware!). Choose a small restaurant where there is nothing vaguely like fast food on the menu and, as always, speak to your waiter about your requirements when you order.
Most brasseries will offer an omelette with ham or cheese (or mixte, with both) which will be made with unadulterated eggs and butter. Galettes, or savoury pancakes, are usually made with buckwheat sarrasin flour but cross contamination can be an issue – fortunately there are a few GF friendly creperies across the city, like Biosphère.
Another option for eating out is a wine bar where they will often offer a planche de fromage, a wooden board of assorted cheeses. Perfect if you pitch up with your own GF bread or crackers in your handbag like I do all the time! Of course in the summer months, a stroll around a local market buying a piece of cheese here and some saucisson (dried salami-type sausage) there, along with some ripe red tomatoes and a juicy peach can make for a lovely picnic.
And as for dessert there are some fabulous GF bakeries and patisseries – the renowned NoGlu, my favourite – Chambelland, Helmut Newcake, and the new kid on the block for stunning classic French patisserie, Sitron. Grom ice creams even offer the holy grail of gelato – a GF cone. Sadly one thing I have no great news on is GF croissants – no one is yet selling fresh ones – so watch this space!
Things to remember:
Always say ‘bonjour’ to your waiter – they are a proud bunch and don’t like to feel they are being unappreciated.
If you can’t speak French then carry a Coeliac travel card explaining your dietary requirements and politely ask the waiter to read it – s’il vous plaît!
There are some great websites that will keep you up to date with the GF scene here:
www.bacididamaglutenfree.com is the website of Chiara, an effervescent Italian lady living in Paris who eats her way through the city and blogs about it in English and French. She also has reviews of great finds in other European cities and conducts food tours in Paris and Italy.
www.becausegus.com is a French site but worth a look for their up to date reviews on restaurants and GF products available in France.
www.glutenfreeinParis.com often features great reviews of raw, vegetarian and vegan restaurants but is only in French.
And remember, while you’re here you might like to take a GF cookery class with me to learn how to make baguettes, buttery Breton cookies or maybe a traditional tarte flambée!
Are some of your most treasured travel memories food-related?
Do you often search out something unusual and edible to bring home in your suitcase?
Are you looking for a ‘banneton‘ or a ‘bassine de confiture en cuivre’? Or want to know what they are?
Do you have half a day spare to discover some great addresses in Paris?
If you answer yes, then this morning tour might be right up your gluten free street.
After giving gluten free baking lessons in my kitchen just outside Paris and encouraging students to visit my favourite baking shops, bakeries and coffee shops in Paris, I have decided to offer a guided tour of some of the parts of the city most interesting for a keen gluten free baker (and eater!).
On this morning walk we will visit:
a typical outdoor market selling fresh produce
a shop where you can buy specialist baking ingredients
a bookshop specialising in cookery books (with an impressive English section too!)
a kitchenware store dating from 1820 where Julia Child used to shop
a gluten free boulangerie and a gluten free patisserie
an Italian gelato shop serving GF gelato in GF cones
While we will time to have a quick look around the shops (with time to make a few purchases for a post-walk pique-nique perhaps?) and a coffee stop will be scheduled into the morning, any serious browsing and shopping (and eating!) will have to be done after the walk or we just won’t make it to all the great places I have planned for you!
Here’s what one happy walker said:
I can thoroughly recommend this guided walk, whether you live in the Paris area, or are passing through. If you want to search out equipment or ingredients, Lisa knows exactly where you should go. Or if you simply wish to find some bakeries, cafés or restaurants where you can eat, safe in the knowledge that the staff know exactly what they are doing, Lisa will show you those too. I had the best gluten-free pizza I have ever had the day I did the tour. ” S.M. Feb 2017
This tour does not provide tastings or include refreshments in the price – I’d prefer you to be able to choose and enjoy your gluten free goodies at your leisure after the tour. There will however be a coffee stop midway through the walk. A map featuring all the places we visit will be provided for you to keep. It does involve 1 hour total walking time – approx 5km distance – so please wear comfortable shoes and bring an umbrella/raincoat if necessary. The walk is never cancelled due to rain!
Fee for this tour 09h30 – 12h30 is €50 per person. Max number is 5. You can purchase tickets via the button below.
If you wish to have a private tour (€160) on a day/time to suit you please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tues 28 Feb 2017
Thurs 16 March 2017
Wed 5 April 2017
Subscribe to my mailing list to stay informed of upcoming GF cookery classes here:
A visit to Chambelland bakery last week and a piece of their ‘5 grains’ gluten free bread had me craving a seedy loaf this weekend. I don’t eat much bread these days. If I do I invariably make it myself unless I’m at a renowned GF boulangerie and want to sample their wares – purely in the interests of research you understand. It’s strange how quickly one loses the habit of eating bread. Eating a sandwich for lunch is now almost a novelty, which hopefully explains my almost childlike enthusiasm for a ready made Marks and Spencer gluten free sandwich while on the road in UK recently.
So back to this loaf. During my internet trawls I knew that somewhere I had read a recipe written for the thermomix using wholegrains ground up, rather than flour. I also knew about the benefits of soaking nuts and wholegrains before cooking, to reduce the phytate content (see below!). So the planets aligned when an instagram post by the talented IzaKitchen led me to her recipe for a ‘magic loaf’, which then led me here, to here, to here and here. Baking a loaf of gluten free bread sometimes seems awfully like an exercise in investigative journalism.
I think this is a really interesting loaf for lots of reasons. Firstly it works. Secondly you can use up all those little ends of packets and jars of lentils, rice etc to make it. I used brown/green lentil, some brown rice and millet but you can also use quinoa, buckwheat groats, any rice, and red lentils. The colour of the resulting loaf will change each time – you might notice this loaf in the photos is slightly purple in colour. I suspect that is because I made it with a mixture of grains including green lentils.
This bread doesn’t need yeast which is useful for people who can’t tolerate yeast and for those who are put off by the prospect of using it. It’s actually a kind of soda bread or what used to be called a ‘quick bread’. Now doesn’t that sound reassuringly simple to make?
It is also dairy free, egg free and added sugar free. A small miracle for a gluten free loaf.
And it’s completely do-able for the non GF person who wants to make something for a GF friend or family member. The purchase of psyllium husk is required, not something most regular bakers have in their kitchen cabinet, unless you make one of the other versions linked in the text above, using ground chia seed instead of psyllium. Just make sure you line your baking tin well with baking parchment if it’s been used for gluten bread before – those pesky crumbs can hide in the corners and might make your GF chum sick.
This loaf keeps well in a cupboard for about 4-5 days, is delicious both fresh and toasted and freezes well too. What more can you ask? I’ll post some more photos when I next make it with other grains. As always, make the loaf your own by varying the grains and seeds used.
I’m keen to try the same idea of soaked ground wholegrain with a sourdough to rise rather than the bicarbonate of soda. A first trial is promising – so watch this space!
Note: If you’re interested in reading more about soaking grains then I’d point you in the direction of this post on the blog of Naomi Devlin, whose book ‘Food for a Happy Gut’ is released later this year.
Seeded wholegrain loaf
based on this recipe here
your choice of a mix of wholegrains (see above) – lentils, rice, quinoa, buckwheat groats, millet, measured up to a total volume of 375ml in a measuring jug
water + 1tbsp cider vinegar for soaking
20g psyllium husk
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp sea salt
25g sunflower seeds
25g flax seeds
knob of butter
handful of sunflower seeds
1. Place the wholegrains in a large bowl, cover with water, add 1 tbsp cider vinegar, stir and leave overnight 12-24 hours to soak.
2. The next day drain and rinse the grains, then drain well and place in a food processor or Thermomix.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C Fan). Grease a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin with butter and coat with the handful of sunflower seeds.
4. Measure the water in a small bowl, add the psyllium, stir and set aside for 5 mins to gel.
5. Place the 2 tbsp vinegar, bicarb, salt and gelled psyllium in with the grains and process until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally.
6. Add the seeds and mix to combine.
7. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a wet spatula.
8. Sprinkle the top with poppy seeds.
9. Bake for 40 mins then remove from the oven, make a shallow cut down the centre of the crust of the loaf (to allow it to expand evenly) and return to the oven for a further 40 mins bake time.
10. Remove from the tin and return to the oven shelf (without a tin) for a final 10 mins to brown the crust.
11. Remove and cool on a cooling rack until completely cold before slicing.
The best figs I have ever eaten were from my friend’s tree on the Ile de Ré – lovingly wrapped individually in kitchen paper and transported to me with great care and attention in an empty shoe box. I can only imagine what they would have tasted like directly from the tree and still warm from the sun.
If you only have a package of figs bought from the supermarket then this is a great way to spruce them up a bit. I made it for my monthly book club meet up and there wasn’t a whole lot left…
This recipe uses my flour blend and makes a lovely sweet pastry tart case. It is unusual as in this recipe there is no blind baking involved at all. If you use the tart pastry in another recipe stipulating blind baking, then line your tin(s) with the pastry, prick the base all over with a fork and bake it blind at 180C/160C Fan. It will take about 10-15mins (until it looks dry on the surface) if you’re using it for a recipe that needs a second bake once filled, and 15-25 mins if the filling is already cooked separately and no second bake is required.
Yes, you read it right, no messing around with baking beans for this recipe. Your eternal thanks are duly noted.
- 2 egg yolks
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (cornflour in UK)
- 250ml full fat or semi-skimmed milk
- grated zest of half an orange
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tbsp cold butter, unsalted
- 150g my four flour blend
- 30g icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- pinch of sea salt
- 80g cold unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 12-15 small fresh figs, halved lengthways
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1. Make the pastry by combining the flour, icing sugar, xanthan gum and sea salt. Add the butter, cut into cubes and rub into the mixture until it looks like gravel - with some larger pieces of butter still visible NOT like sand. If you use a food processor then use the pulse function for several second long bursts.
- 2. Add the egg and combine to a dough. Wrap in a piece of cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours (or pop in the freezer for 30mins).
- 3. Meanwhile make the orange pastry cream. In a medium bowl using a whisk, mix the egg yolks, half the sugar, cornstarch, orange zest, vanilla, sea salt and about 50ml of the total measured milk to make a paste.
- 4. Heat the remaining milk and sugar until it just starts to come to a boil, then slowly add it to the orange and egg yolk paste, whisking all the while. Return the custard to the saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking all the time. The mixture will thicken as you let it bubble gently for 10 secs. Remove it from the heat, still whisking, add the butter, whisk again and then transfer it to a clean dry bowl. Cover the surface with cling film and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
- 5. Place a rectangular flan tin on a baking tray. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of clingfilm until it is large enough to line the tin. If the pastry gets too warm to handle, place the rolled out dough on a cutting board or baking sheet and allow it to cool and harden in the fridge.
- 6. Remove the top clingfilm, place your hand under the rolled out sheet of pastry and flip it into the tin. Press the pastry dough into the corners of the tin, patching if necessary. Remove the top layer of cling film. Trim the top edges of the pastry level with the top of the tin and put the tin on its tray back in the fridge for 30mins to harden.
- 7. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan.
- 8. Spread the pastry cream in the lined tin evenly. Arrange the halved figs on top, cut side up. Brush the surface of the figs with melted butter and sprinkle with a little caster sugar.
- 9. Place in the oven and bake for 20mins. Turn the tin around, place a piece of aluminium foil loosely over the top of the tart (without pressing it down) to prevent the figs from browning too much. Bake for a further 20mins.
- 10. Remove carefully from the oven (there might be some very hot juices) and allow to cool. Serve at room temperature.
So much of my time is taken up by just making food for my family to eat that I’ve decided to start a weekly blog post featuring links to the recipes that have inspired my cooking each week, even if the originals aren’t gluten free and I succumb to my usual habit of changing things around to suit what I have to hand. That way if you see something I’ve made on my Instagram feed, you’ll stand a chance of being to figure out how to make it. And if you havent yet found my feed on Instagram it’s here.
Going freestyle – with the feel of a recipe rather than using a recipe to the letter seems to be a major worry for a lot of people. I do remember the early days of learning to cook – rushing out to buy a bunch of spring onions because I’d forgotten to add them to the list. These days I’d thing rather along the lines of replacing them in a recipe – a bit of leek, red onion or shallot. No rice crumbs? – then how about breadcrumbs or quinoa flakes. It might turn out differently, but just suppose it turned out even better AND you didn’t have to hare round to the market just for one item? It’s just a question of confidence and actually becomes pretty exciting. What CAN you make with only an onion, a stick of celery and a carrot??!
I hope this helps you to see how recipes evolve and helps you to use up what you already have at home, reducing waste and time to boot. It will also help me to keep an uptodate record of the recipes I try. How frustrating is it when you make a recipe that is unanimously declared delicious only to lose the recipe forever (do NOT mention my hot cross bun recipe at this point, my heart is still bleeding).
For the observant among you, yes, this was a particularly meat/fish light week, but we aren’t exclusively vegetarian.
- The quinoa and sweet potato burgers were based on this recipe by One Ingredient Chef. Instead of the parsley/sunflower seed/garlic combo I used some radish top, roasted garlic and pistachio pesto I had leftover. I also didn’t bother hydrating the ground flax and reduced that down to 2 tablespoons from 3. They were really delicious.
- The courgette besan cheela recipe is one I have taught before in my classes in Singapore. A chick pea flour ‘pancake’ with added cumin, spring onion and courgette – such a quick idea for lunch. I have submitted the recipe for publication to the summer edition of Niépi magazine, so I’m hoping that will reach a wider audience. This one I served with a cucumber and mint raita made using milk kefir kindly given to me by a dear friend. Thanks Marie-Odile!
- The banana bread recipe was made using this BBC Food recipe for inspiration. I used my usual four flour blend instead of the plain/wholemeal flours in the recipe and reduced the sweetener from 4 tbsp of agave (which I never use) to 3 tbsp of maple syrup. I also added 1/2 tsp xanthan gum as a binder. The recipe contains a yogurt but no other fat, which made the texture bizarrely light for a banana bread. It made a nice light breakfast served with unsweetened creamy fromage blanc and another splash of maple syrup.
- The gado gado recipe is one given to me by a young Malaysian woman I met while doing an internship in America back in the 1980s and have guarded preciously ever since! I have included it below, along with a marinade for satay skewers.
- 100g roasted, unsalted peanuts, ground (OR use good quality peanut butter)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped,
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/4 tsp cayenne powder (or to taste)
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 250ml coconut milk
- 2 tbsp gula melaka (coconut sugar) or dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp GF tamari (or to taste)
- 1 tbsp lime juice (or to taste)
- courgette, carrot, green beans etc
- bean sprouts, red pepper, cucumber etc
- boiled eggs, halved
- Place the peanuts (or peanut butter), onion, garlic, cayenne, coriander and cumin into a medium frying pan and cook together for 5 mins.
- Add the coconut milk, sugar and tamari, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 mins.
- Add the lime juice to taste and add more tamari if needed.
- Serve warm with a selection of steamed and raw vegetables and halved hard boiled eggs.
- 3 tbsp neutral oil
- 3 tbsp GF tamari
- 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
- 1.5 tsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Mix all together in a bowl - add cubed chicken or tofu and cover. Allow to marinade for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably 6, then thread onto soaked wooden skewers and cook on a grill pan until golden and cooked through.