Black Bean and four Cheese Dip

The best kind of dinners are often those centred around appetizer style dishes. They remind me of meals in the States while watching football games in sports bars or when out “just for a few drinks” and then you decide to opt for something small and end up ordering everys single starters on the menu. This dip was always one of my favourites and would come piping hot out the oven, served with a mountain of tortilla chips for dipping. Sadly, this dish rarely is gluten free friendly in restaurants and so I quickly came up with a safe version to prepare and eat at home when I didn’t fancy a big dinner or when having friends over. Be sure to serve with an ice cold gluten free beer or a good bottle of wine and you’ve got yourself a perfect night in!


2 x 400g Cans Black Beans (drained and rinsed)

2 x Garlic Cloves, peeled

½ x Lemon/Lime, squeezed

½ x Teaspoon Cumin

½ x Teaspoon Chilli Flakes

1 x Teaspoon Sea Salt

½ x Teaspoon Black Pepper

1 x Teaspoon Hot Sauce (I use Salsa Valentina)

200g x Cream Cheese

100g x Mild Cheddar Cheese

50g x Parmesan Cheese

100g x Shredded Mozzarella

100ml x Crème Fraiche

200g x Gluten Free Salted Tortilla Chips

For the garnish:

1 x green jalapeno, chopped

100g x cherry tomatoes, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees fan)
  2. In a large bowl, mix the black beans, cream cheese, crème fraiche, garlic cloves and lemon/lime juice with a hand blender until smooth (alternatively, this can be mixed in a food processor)
  3. Add the cumin, chilli flakes, sea salt, black pepper, hot sauce, cheddar and parmesan and blend again until smooth
  4. Transfer the mixture to an oven-proof dish. Top with the shredded mozzarella and bake the dip for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and leave to rest for five minutes before garnishing with the chopped jalapeno and tomatoes.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Savoury Canapes on Nairn’s Crackers & Oatcakes

Spring has finally sprung and it’s time to start enjoying meals and snacks al fresco. One of my favourite pastimes is creating finger food that not only tastes and looks fantastic but that uses real and simple ingredients. Thanks to Nairn’s versatile oatcake and cracker range, creating the perfect snacks to enjoy with a glass of bubbles or by themselves as a canape or even a meal is easier than ever. So go ahead and grab yourselves some of the gluten free Nairn’s oatcake and cracker range from Sainsburys, Morrisons, Asda, Tesco or Waitrose stores and give some of my topping choices a whirl!

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1. Roasted Red Pepper & Humous: 1 x tablespoon humous, ¼ of a red pepper which has been lightly roasted in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees FAN with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper

2. Grilled Halloumi & Tomato Salsa: 1 x slice halloumi which has been grilled or lightly pan fried in a drizzle of olive oil and 1 x teaspoon of homemade tomato salsa using 2 x finely chopped cherry tomatoes, 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil, ½ teaspoon lime juice, salt and pepper

3. English Brie & Grape: 2 x brie cheese wedges and 1 x washed red grape sliced lengthways, arranged on top

4. Mozzarella, Prosciutto Ham & Basil: 1 x slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, 1/2 a slice of prosciutto, 1 x washed basil leaf and freshly cracked black pepper

5. Chive Cream Cheese & Smoked Salmon: 1 x tablespoon plain cream cheese, 1 x teaspoon fresh chives, ½ teaspoon dried chives, 1 x small slice of smoked salmon, freshly cracked black pepper

6. Guacamole and Cherry Tomato: ½ mashed ripe avocado with salt, pepper, 1 x tablespoon lime juice and ½ teaspoon chilli flakes with one cherry tomato slice arranged on top

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This post has been sponsored by Nairn’s.

Mozzarella Sticks by Asda

Where from? Asda
Available in Asda supermarkets nationwide

The American in me cannot get enough of bar-type snacks. I have incredibly fond memories of chomping on mozzarella sticks dipped in marinara or ranch from my days studying in the US with an ice-cold beer, which I thought were well and truly over when I discovered I couldn’t eat gluten. Imagine my surprise and excitement therefore when I came across these gluten free mozzarella sticks in the refrigerated section at Asda recently. They are ready after a mere 8 minutes in the oven and perfect with aioli for dipping. Available in Asda stores across the UK and online. Enjoy!

Baked Garlic Chicken Tenders

I spent a good part of my early twenties living, studying and working in South Carolina. It was there, in the Deep South, that my love for proper fried chicken was born. I realised within 24 hours of arriving in the state capital for the first time that I had never really eaten fried chicken. What I had eaten for years in the UK had just been breaded chicken, which often lacked flavour and crunch. Here in the southern states however, fried chicken was not only the real deal but a way of life.

The official food of my University football team was a regional fast food restaurant’s signature deep fried chicken sandwich, which they would pass out by the thousand to students during games. While my arteries may not have been enjoying themselves that much, my taste buds were having a permanent party and every moment of it was fantastic.

Ever since coming back home, I’ve been working on recreating this southern staple with a healthier twist. I do not often trust myself with a deep fryer and that is just as well because these chicken tenders I make are baked in the oven, instantly making them a lighter choice. I hope you enjoy them as either a meal, an appetiser or simply because you want to snack on them. Dig in y’all!

Baked Garlic Chicken Tenders
(Serves 2-3)


320-360g Chicken (pre-cut supermarket mini chicken breast fillets are a great time-saver)
3 x Large eggs
2 x Cups gluten free flour
2 x Cups gluten free breadcrumbs
1 x Teaspoon garlic powder
1 x Teaspoon minced garlic
1 x Teaspoon dried parsley
1 x Teaspoon dried chives
2 x Tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
Vegetable Oil of Choice

To Serve:
Freshly Chopped Chives (to garnish)
Garlic Mayonnaise or Ranch Dressing for dipping


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Prepare your “dipping stations”. Place beaten eggs in a shallow bowl, gluten free flour in a second and the breadcrumbs in a third.
3. Season the egg mixture with the garlic powder and salt and stir.
4. Add the parmesan cheese, minced garlic and pepper to the breadcrumbs and mix.
5. If your chicken is not pre-chopped, cut into strips with a width of around 1 1/2 – 2 inches wide.
6. Using a fork, start dipping your chicken strips by placing each tender into the egg. When the tender is well covered in egg mix, dip in the flour, ensuring a good dusting all-around the tender (this is easiest, and less messy, if you hold the tender on a fork and use an additional fork to pile the flour onto each tender).
7. After the flour, pass the tender lightly through the egg mix once more and then into the breadcrumb mix, again ensuring the entire tender has a good coating. Top up dipping bowls as required, although the measurements above should be enough to cover the specified amount of chicken.
8. Place each tender on the lined baking sheet, leaving at least a centimetre between each piece.
9. Pour a light drizzle of a vegetable oil of your choice over the tenders before baking.
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, turning the chicken tenders over gently with a fork or thin knife half way through cooking, making sure to do this slowly so breadcrumbs do not fall off in the process.
11. Sprinkle with freshly chopped chives before serving with a dipping sauce of your choice.