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Cauliflower works brilliantly with bold, spicy flavours. Its delicate taste and texture when cooked just soaks them in. And it’s a lovely firm vegetable that is substantial – making it a great addition to a gluten-free kitchen.
Here I’ve mixed up a batter, using rice flour, gram flour and cornflour, and then sparkling water as the Japanese do in their tempura recipes to make the batter light. I’ve seasoned the batter with salt and ground chilli, cumin, turmeric and coriander – making them quite fiery. But if you’d like them less full-on, just halve the quantities of those spices. And then I’ve made a coriander-yogurt to dip them into.
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Makes 12 large or about 20 small fritters Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 10 minutes
- 1 cauliflower
- 100g/3½oz/heaped ½ cup rice flour
- 50g/1¾oz/scant ½ cup gram flour
- 100g/3½oz cornflour
- ½ tsp crushed sea salt
- 2 tsp ground mild chilli
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 150ml/5fl/oz fizzy water
- 2 large handfuls chopped coriander leaves
- at least 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup rapeseed oil or olive oil, for frying
- 300ml/10½fl oz/scant 1¼ cups dairy-free soya yogurt
- 1 large handful finely chopped coriander leaves
- sea salt
- Break the cauliflower into small florets. Put into a steamer and steam over a high heat for 4–5 minutes until the thicker stalks are tender but the cauliflower still has a firm texture.
- Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt and spices. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the garlic, egg and fizzy water. Beat slowly with a wooden spoon to draw in the flours to make a smooth batter. Stir in the steamed cauliflower and, using the spoon, mash the cauliflower up into small pieces then add the coriander and mix in well.
- Heat enough oil in a large frying pan to deep fry the fritters over a medium heat until hot. Spoon a couple of large spoonfuls or a few small spoonfuls, depending on the size of fritters you want, into the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and put on a pile of kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.
- Repeat with the remaining batter, keeping the cooked fritters warm. Serve hot with the Coriander Yogurt.
This recipe is adapted from one in Sunil Vijayakar’s The Big Book of Curries. Sunil is a wonderful food writer and stylist whose understanding of how to cook with spices is inspirational. Here he’s used garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander and chilli, along with fresh coriander, mint and lime – which is a fairly traditional mixture. But what I loved about this recipe was the perfect balancing of these spices – just enough ground cumin and ground coriander to give a lovely pungent base and then a really fresh, vibrant chilli, ginger, herbs and lime mixture. (All I did to adapt it was to substitute dairy-free yogurt for the natural yogurt he uses, and I also used unsalted peanuts instead of the skinless roasted ones he uses, simply to reduce the salt count.)
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, seed-free
Preparation time 20 minutes, plus at least 4 hours marinating Cooking time 10 minutes Serves 4
- 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup dairy-free, plain yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp peeled and finely grated root ginger
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 1 large handful coriander leaves, chopped
- 1 small handful mint leaves, chopped
- juice of 2 limes
- 800g/1lb 12oz skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbsp chopped unsalted peanuts
- lime wedges, to serve
- Put the dairy-free yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, ground coriander, chilli, coriander and mint leaves and lime juice in a blender and blend for 2–3 minutes until fairly smooth. Season lightly with salt.
- Put the chicken in a large bowl, pour over the yogurt mixture and toss to coat evenly. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 4–6 hours, or overnight, if time permits.
- If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers and grill, turning frequently, for 8–10 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Sprinkle with the peanuts and serve hot with lime wedges for squeezing over.
Jenny from Juvela very kindly sent me some samples of the Juvela range of products (many thanks, Jenny!) and I thought the Tagliatelle was great – incredibly easy to cook, with no need to add oil or keep stirring to stop it sticking together. And it’s made from good ingredients – Maize starch, Egg, Rice Starch, Emulsifier (Mono- & Diglycerides of Fatty Acids).
I tend to eat gluten-free pasta that’s either got a lot of corn in it, or made completely with corn – so they’re always a yellow colour. Having a beautifully light – almost cream-coloured – pasta in my cupboard inspired me to make a very light/fresh-coloured dish. So I made a Watercress & Pea Tagliatelle. Watercress is an often-unsung food hero. With a spectacularly unique, peppery taste, it’s absolutely packed with nutrition. It normally comes into season May–October but I found some last weekend. So, when autumn arrives and most of the seasonal veggies are root veggies or squashes, watercress stands out as a wonderfully fresh, zingy ingredient to work with. (I have cheated, though, and used completely non-seasonal frozen peas, too!)
gluten-free, wheat-free, yeast-free, nut-free, seed-free
Preparation time 5 minutes Cooking time 10–12 minutes Serves 2
- 150g/5½oz gluten-free tagliatelle or other gluten-free pasta
- 200g/7oz shelled peas
- 2 egg yolks
- juice ½ lemon
- 200g/7oz/scant 1 cup soya yogurt
- 50g/1¾oz watercress
- 50g/1¾oz soya cheese, grated
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook over a medium-high heat for 8–10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions.
- Meanwhile, put the peas in a steamer and steam, covered, over a high heat for 3–4 minutes until tender. Remove and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice and soya yogurt and set aside.
- Drain the tagliatelle and rinse well with boiling water, then drain again. Put the tagliatelle back in the saucepan and quickly stir in the egg mixture. Quickly add the peas and watercress, stir thoroughly and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with the grated soya cheese sprinkled over the top.
Zoë is now 2 years old! We had a birthday party in the park at the weekend to celebrate with her friends, including Ivy pictured here – and it was wonderful! For the tea I cooked chicken nuggets, squash nuggets, sweet potato wedges, sausages and dips with vegetable sticks. And then I made Carrot and Beetroot Cupcakes from my book, The Best Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes. I still don’t give Zoe sugar generally and I thought these cupcakes would be good because they’re much lower in sugar than most cupcakes. I promised that I would post the recipe…
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 15–18 minutes makes 12
150g/5oz dairy-free margarine, softened
125g/4oz/¾ cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
75g/2½oz/scant ½ cup rice flour
75g/2½oz/⅔ cup gram flour
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
scant ½ tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp ground cinnamon
200g/7oz carrots, peeled and grated
100g/3½oz beetroots, peeled and grated
100g/3½oz soya yogurt
2 tbsp clear honey
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Arrange 12 paper cupcake cases in a bun tin.
- Using an electric whisk, beat the margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until well mixed.
- Sift the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and ground cinnamon into the mixture, then quickly fold it in, followed by the grated carrots and beetroots, using a metal spoon. Make sure the mixture is well blended, but take care not to overmix.
- Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then cover them with a sheet of non-stick baking parchment to prevent them from overbrowning and bake for a further 5–8 minutes until well risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Take the cupcakes out of the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- When the cupcakes have cooled, prepare the topping. Using a whisk or electric blender, whisk together the yogurt and honey in a bowl until smooth. Spread a little of the topping over each one.
Do you like the new taste of Alpro’s Plain Soya Yogurt? www.alprosoya.co.uk I realised that they’d changed the recipe recently – changing it to a sweetened yogurt with tastes of vanilla, despite the fact that it’s still called plain and they already make Alpro Vanilla Soya Yogurt. I often use soya yogurt in savoury dishes – risottos, pastas and curries, for example, and Alpro’s new flavour just doesn’t work in these. So I emailed the company to ask whether they had changed the recipe – and whether they would reconsider. Here was their answer –
Dear Ms Cheetham
Thank you for your comments and feedback regarding the change of recipe to our Plain yogurt alternative and I am sorry that you have not enjoyed this product. We believe that there were improvements to be made to our Alpro soya plain yogurt alternative in order to improve the texture of the product and to eliminate water that could on occasions form on top of the product. We wanted to offer a product which tastes good, especially on its own with fresh fruit or with cereals, we do appreciate that it will no longer have the sour taste associated with some plain yogurts. We do appreciate that this product may not be suitable for savoury cooking. You may like to try our Provamel Organic range of products which are available in health food stores such as Holland and Barrett and independent health stores and does include our Organic plain yogurt which maybe more to your taste.
So I’ve tried to get hold of the Provamel Organic Natural Yofu but it’s hard to get hold of. The beauty of the Alpro yogurts is that you can get them in pretty much any large supermarket and in every health food shop, making it possible to buy them almost whenever you want. But I couldn’t find it in any supermarket or in my local Holland & Barrett. So I trekked to Wholefoods (which I do love, though!) and managed to find it there. And yes, it does taste just like the Alpro Plain Soya Yogurt used to – with a lovely tanginess. And I also bought the Sojade Bio Organic Natural + Bifidus yogurt which was good, but a little watery. But I’ll have to make a special effort to buy this now. I honestly don’t care that you needed to stir or whizz the original Alpro yogurt in order to get a smooth, creamy texture. But I mind hugely that it’s now difficult to get hold of a savoury soya yogurt.
This is a spicy chicken and fennel salad with a fennel-flavoured tzatziki. I’ve made the tzatziki with soya yogurt – and I used Alpro plain. But I think that Alpro might have changed the recipe for their plain soya yogurt recently, as it tastes slightly sweet (and maybe with vanilla-flavouring?) to me now. So I’ve added more lemon juice than you would normally find in a tzatziki recipe to get the right sort of balance of flavours, and the ground fennel seeds to add some umph. (PS, Alpro, please go back to the original recipe!)
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, seed-free
Preparation time 15 minutes, plus 2 hours marinating time Cooking time 20 minutes
- 4 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 fennel bulbs, sliced lengthways
- 150g salad leaves
- 50g rocket
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt, crushed
- juice of 2 lemons
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cucumber, peeled
- 300ml soya yogurt
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt, crushed
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- juice and zest of ½ lemon
- Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a low heat. Add the fennel seeds and dry-fry for 2-3 minutes, until they start to brown and become fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and blend in a mini-electric blender or spice grinder until finely ground and leave to one side.
- Put the chicken in a non-metallic bowl. Put 1½ teaspoons of the ground fennel seeds in a small bowl and add the paprika, cayenne, salt and lemon juice. Season with the pepper and mix well. Pour over the chicken and cover with a lid or cling film. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat until hot. Working in batches, put the fennel slices onto the pan base and fry for 3–4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from the pan, add another tablespoon of oil and repeat with the remaining fennel. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.
- Add a further tablespoon of oil and, working in batches, put the chicken slices onto the pan base (and discard the marinade). Fry for 3–4 minutes on both sides until cooked through and browned. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining chicken, adding more oil if needed. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.
- To make the tzatziki put the cucumber in half, lengthways and remove the seeds. Grate finely, put in a colander and sprinkle with a little salt. Leave for about 15 minutes until it has released some juices. Pat dry in kitchen towel and put in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and ½ teaspoon of the ground fennel seeds. Stir well and leave in the fridge to chill until needed.
- Mix together the ingredients for the dressing plus the remaining ½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds in a jug. Put the salad leaves and rocket in a bowl and add the fennel and chicken. Pour over the dressing and serve with the tzatziki.
I’d read various recipes for Strawberry Soup and had always wanted to try one. So I experimented yesterday using balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, agave syrup and soya yogurt with the strawberries, and then added some mint. It was good but I thought I could get richer, sweeter tastes if I baked the strawberries and balsamic vinegar. So I remade it and here’s the result. It’s unusual but great. Serve it as a starter – and enjoy the rich, sweet/sour tastes exploding in your mouth.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free
Preparation time 5 minutes Serves 4
- 800g strawberries, hulled
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp agave syrup
- 1 small handful mint leaves
- 250ml soya yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Put the strawberries on a baking tray and drizzle the vinegar over. Bake for 20 minutes until tender.
- Put in a blender or liquidiser and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth, pour into a serving bowl and leave to chill in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.
I made this delicious risotto during the asparagus season – along with sweet peas, fresh, aromatic mint, and large, juicy prawns. The soya yogurt gives it a tangy, light creaminess, with the taste of summer. You can leave it out if you don’t have any, but you can easily find soya yogurt in many supermarkets and health food shops now, and it makes all the difference.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, nut-free, seed-free, egg-free, citrus-free
preparation time 5 minutes cooking time 20-25 minutes serves 4
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 250g arborio or other risotto rice
- 300ml organic dry white wine
- 800ml hot gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free vegetable stock, or vegetable stock made from gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free stock powder
- 20 asparagus spears, woody ends removed and chopped into 5cm lengths
- 200g fresh or frozen peas
- 300g cooked, peeled, large king prawns
- 1 handful chopped mint leaves
- 100g soya yogurt
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2–3 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then lower the heat and stir in the rice until it is well coated in oil.
- Pour a little of the wine into the mixture and stir. Continue cooking over a low heat, gradually adding and stirring in the wine, until it has all been absorbed. Add a ladle of the hot stock and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding and stirring in the hot stock for 18–20 minutes until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Meanwhile, steam the asparagus stalks in a saucepan of boiling water or a steamer for 1-2 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks. Add the tips and the peas and continue to steam for another 2-3 minutes, until the asparagus is just tender but still slightly crunchy. Remove from the heat, drain and set to one side.
- Pour the yogurt into a mixing bowl and, using a whisk or hand-held electric blender, blend the yogurt until smooth.
- When the risotto mixture is almost cooked, season lightly with salt and pepper to taste and carefully stir in the prawns, asparagus and peas. Continue to cook for a further minute until the rice is soft but still has a slight bite and all the liquid has been absorbed. Sprinkle in the mint leaves, add the yogurt and stir gently. Serve immediately.