I am not a baker at heart so when I first came across these doughy, cheesy balls of goodness in Latin America and realised how easy they were to prepare, I could have jumped for joy (in fact I think I did). This naturally gluten free recipe calls for tapioca/cassava flour, which comes from a root widely used in Latin America in a multitude of dishes and its texture when baked together with the rest of these ingredients makes for the most moreish treat. Originally from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, this bread is eaten for any meal of the day, although it absolutely steals the show at breakfast time, accompanied by a coffee and some fresh fruit. It’s commonly served with a creamy cheese spread (known as requeijao), which I’ve adapted below for dipping. Enjoy this recipe – once you try it, I guarantee you’ll be making it on repeat!
Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)
200g x Free Tapioca Flour
140ml x Almond or Gluten Free Oat Milk
50ml x Water
1 x Large Egg
3 x Tablespoons Good Quality Olive Oil
50g x Parmesan/Italian Hard Cheese (grated)
50g x Mature Cheddar Cheese (grated)
2 x Garlic Cloves (Minced)
1 x Teaspoon Sea Salt
Extra grated parmesan for the garnish
Whipped Cheese and Chive Dip
100g x Philadelphia Full-Fat Cream Cheese
1 x Teaspoon Good Quality Olive Oil
1 x Heaped Teaspoon Dried Chives
1/3 x Teaspoon Garlic Granules
1/3 x Teaspoon Sea Salt
2 x Teaspoons Fresh Chives (Finely Chopped)
Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) – Method
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (fan) and line two baking trays with parchment/baking paper.
- Place the tapioca flour in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Heat the milk, water, oil and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, remove from heat and add to the bowl with the flour and mix until combined (either by hand, using a good wooden spoon or in a standing mixer).
- Now add the egg and mix well. The texture will seem very uncooperative at first and the mixture will appear to not be combining but do not give up! After enough mixing, the mixture will all come together to form a sticky dough.
- Please note that the dough should not have a liquid-like consistency as it needs to hold together in small ball-like form on the baking tray. Sometimes however, depending on the temperature of the room and if the mixture has been “too mixed”, the dough will not appear sturdy enough. If this is the case, feel free to add a dusting of additional tapioca flour and mix again, repeating this step until you are happy with the consistency.
- Now using two large spoons, place the dough onto the baking trays in small ball-like shapes. The perfect ball shape is very hard to achieve by hand, so do not fret if they look more like blobs!
- Bake immediately for 15 minutes until the breads are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and quickly sprinkle the extra grated Parmesan cheese on top of the breads and bake for another 5 or so minutes, until the cheese is melted.
- Remove from the oven and leave the bread to cool for 5 minutes before enjoying warm with a cheese and chive dip (please see recipe below).
Whipped Cheese and Chive Dip – Method
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. This can be done either by hand with a regular spoon or with a hand-whisk, if you’d like a fluffier texture.
- Serve immediately either as a spread or a dip for your Pão de Queijo and enjoy!
I’m on a roll over here with my nostalgic Argentine recipes, and this one for Alfajores or sandwich cookies, I can confirm, is something you will want to try at home! I spent a lot of my time in Buenos Aires eating these cookies, which are sandwiched together by the most velvety Dulce de Leche (caramel). They are often served as an accompaniment to a cup of coffee or enjoyed as an on-the-go snack by people all over the city. The basis of this particular type of alfajor is corn meal and while it would make sense for them to just be gluten free, in Argentina they can sometimes contain hidden wheat flour or traces. I’m delighted to tell you however that this recipe is 100% gluten free, and you will absolutely not miss the gluten!
I was able to score a jar of imported Dulce de Leche for this particular recipe from a lovely Argentine food stall in Borough Market in London – La Porteña – but this decadently delicious spread is available in multiple retail outlets across the UK now and can be sourced online via the likes of Amazon. The corn flour I always go for meanwhile is Harina P.A.N. – a widely used Latin American white corn flour, which is available in food markets across London and in niche local grocery stores. Alternatively of course, this flour can be purchased online via multiple webpages – just be sure to check out the shopping tab on your Google browser for all your options.
150g x Unsalted Butter (softened)
4 x Large Egg Yolks
300g x Harina P.A.N. White Corn Flour
60g x White Caster Sugar
4 x Teaspoons Gluten Free Baking Powder
1/3 Teaspoon Sea Salt
250g x Dulce de Leche
20g x Gluten Free Plain Flour (for rolling)
- Using an electric whisk or hand mixer, combine the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl.
- Sieve the corn flour into a separate bowl along with your baking powder and salt.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients into the combined egg and sugar, using a spatula to ensure the ingredients are evenly mixed (warning, this can take up to 10 minutes!).
- Using your hands, knead the mixture together for an additional 5 minutes until you have a bread dough-like consistency.
- Create a large ball with the dough, wrap in cling-film and place in the fridge to chill for two hours.
- Preheat your fan oven to 155 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle the gluten free flour on a dry surface and using a sharp knife, divide your pre-chilled dough into two portions for ease.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out each portion of dough until it has a thickness of around 1cm. With a small cookie cutter create alfajor shapes out of the dough. I prefer to use a small cookie cutter for dinky-sized alfajores but the diameter of the cutter is up to you (there are alfajores of all sizes in Argentina!)
- Bake the cookies in the oven for 8 minutes before removing to cool on the baking trays for up to 30 minutes. Once cooled, transfer to a cooling rack.
- Create your alfajores by placing one tea spoon of Dulce de Leche in the centre of one cookie and placing another cookie on top. Lightly press down to bring the Dulce de Leche closer to the edges of the sandwich.
- Transfer your alfajores to a plate or container and chill in the fridge for up to an hour so the Dulce de Leche sets.
- Enjoy with tea, coffee or just simply on their own. Buen provecho!
From a culinary perspective, many people associate Argentina with its prime cuts of meat and famous barbecues. Those who enjoy history meanwhile, will know that a lot of cuisine, particularly served in the capital of Buenos Aires, was inspired by Italian immigrants who began to make their way in large numbers to the South American city in the mid 1800s. Empanadas however, Argentina’s other staple foodstuff, bear resemblance to the Cornish Pasty and in fact were allegedly inspired by the English savoury treat itself.
Ever since moving back from Buenos Aires, I have been making empanadas at home and trying to recreate the flavours I would experience there multiple times a week, and sometimes even multiple times a day! Thanks to the introduction of ready to roll gluten free pastry by trusty Jus-Rol in the UK in the last couple of years, my empanada recipe is even easier to throw together and enjoy at home. Highly recommend these delicious savoury pastries as a snack or a light dinner with a side salad and a glass of Malbec, por supuesto!
1 x Jus-Rol Gluten Free Puff Pastry Ready Rolled Sheet (280g)
50g x Lean Beef Mince
1 x Tsp Olive Oil
1 x Small Onion, Finely Chopped
½ x Red Pepper, Finely Chopped
5 x Cherry Tomatoes, Finely Chopped
1 x Boiled Egg, Peeled and Chopped
43g x Pitted Black Olives, Chopped
2 x Eggs, Beaten (to Glaze the Empanadas)
1 x Tsp Oregano
½ x Tsp Paprika
½ x Tsp Garlic Powder
½ x Beef Stock Cube (I use Knorr)
80ml x Red Wine
Pinch Salt & Pepper
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper and sautee until soft.
- Add the mince and stir well to ensure it mixes properly with the onion and pepper. Cook uncovered for around 10 minutes.
- Once the beef has browned, add the cherry tomatoes, black olives, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, red wine, salt & pepper. Crumble the stock cube in and stir mixture well.
- Reduce heat and simmer mixture, partially covered by a lid, for 1 hour. Check every 10 minutes and stir.
- Once the liquid in the mixture has evaporated, remove from heat. Leave the mixture to cool for around 30-40 minutes before adding the chopped boiled egg and mixing well (you do not want the beef filling to be hot when you prep the empanadas to avoid the pastry falling apart).
- When the beef mixture has cooled, heat the oven to 170 degrees (Fan) and line two to three baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a flat surface, lightly roll out the Jus-Rol Gluten Free pastry sheet to expand slightly but do not over-roll as this will warm up the pastry and cause it to split.
- Using a sharp knife, divide the rolled out sheet into three columns longways and then again across, to create 9 squares, measuring around 9-10cm across and lengthways each.
- To fill the empanadas, place a square of the pastry in the palm of one hand and place approximately two teaspoons of the beef mixture in the middle.
- Using a pastry brush, spread a little of the beaten egg around the edges of the pastry. Turn the square slightly in your hand so it’s at a diagonal, and bring the top and the bottom points of the pastry together into a rough triangle shape by folding gently.
- To close each empanada, twist the three edges of the triangle in towards the centre of the pastry and stick down lightly with egg wash to ensure the pastry is closed (otherwise mixture will seep out of the pastry while cooking). Feel free to also gently press the back of a fork onto the edges if this makes sealing the square easier.
- Place each raw empanada gently on to parchment paper-lined baking trays immediately after prepping to avoid overheating the pastry in your hands, leaving several centimetres of space in between each empanada as they will expand in the oven.
- Using your pastry brush once more, lightly brush all the raw empanadas with the beaten egg to create a nice glaze.
- Bake the empanadas for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Leave empanadas to rest for around 15 minutes before serving.
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
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees fan)
- 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)
- Add the cumin, chilli flakes, sea salt, black pepper, hot sauce, cheddar and parmesan and blend again until smooth
- 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.
- Remove from oven and leave to rest for five minutes before garnishing with the chopped jalapeno and tomatoes.
- Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!
I don’t think that there is anything that goes better with a glass of bubbles at a party or on a special night in than a freshly made, gluten free blini. Of course the gluten free variety are impossible to get hold of at the supermarkets but fear not, I have the perfect recipe for y’all here. It’s one I’ve whipped out for special occasions for years and no one can even tell they are gluten free. I like to top mine with smoked salmon, crème fraiche, lemon and freshly chopped chives. These are very versatile party snacks however, and so can be topped with whatever you fancy. Give them a whirl and let me know what you think!
1 x Cup Gluten Free Flour
1 x Large Egg
1 x Cup of Milk/ Dairy Free Milk
½ x Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
½ x Teaspoon Gluten Free Bouillon Powder
Cracked Black Pepper
1 x Teaspoon Vegetable/ Sunflower Oil
For the topping:
1 x Small Tub crème fraiche
50g x Smoked Salmon
Freshly Chopped Chives
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, Bouillon powder and black pepper.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and the milk. When combined, add gradually to the dry ingredients and mix into a smooth batter.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and use a small spoon to create small blini discs in the pan.
4. When bubbles form in the blinis, they are ready to turn over. Once turned, cook for 2-3 more minutes before removing from the pan.
5. Leave to cool and then top with ½ a teaspoon each of crème fraiche and chopped salmon.
6. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the plate of blinis when armed and then sprinkle generously with chopped chives before serving.
Did y’all know that Alaska is home to some of the world’s best seafood, with fish of all varieties swimming freely it its three million lakes, 34,000 miles of coastline and 3,000 rivers? This freedom to swim and the fish’s natural diet creates the yummiest taste and texture and so I always make sure to check for the Alaska Seafood label when purchasing salmon in the shops. I’ve gone ahead and created this simple salmon dish, which is perfect to enjoy al fresco or as a quick and satisfying weeknight dinner. Happy eating!
2 x Wild Alaskan Salmon Fillets
2 x Medium Sized Leeks (Chopped)
1 x Cup Frozen Petits Pois
1 x Tablespoon Butter/Dairy Free Butter
1 x Heaped Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/3 x Cup White Wine
25g Fresh Chives
Juice of ½ a Lemon
Salt & Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees (FAN)
2. Arrange salmon fillets in oven dish, pouring over lemon juice and season with salt and pepper
3. Bake for 15-20 minutes
4. While salmon is baking, melt butter in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add chopped leeks and stir well, making sure all are lightly coated in the butter. Sautee for 2-3 minutes until soft
5. Add mustard, white wine, salt and pepper and stir well, leaving to cook for another 2-3 minutes
6. Add the peas and stir again before removing from heat. Cover pan for 3-5 minutes, allowing the steam to cook the peas
7. Add fresh chives and arrange in a deep bowl, creating a bed of greens ready to serve with the salmon fillets on top
8. Garnish with fresh lemon and more chives
More on Alaska Seafood
Sustainability is so important to Alaska that it was written into the constitution in 1959, calling for all fisheries to be sustainably managed and fish sustainably sourced. Fishing in Alaska is a way of life and has been passed down through generation, where each day families continue to catch their quotas in small boats out on the water.
Each fisherman’s catch is sold to make a living, but a small quota can be kept for their own consumption, bringing families together and providing a yummy and nutritious feast. For more info on how this fish is sustainably caught and where to find Alaska Seafood products, head over to their website.
This post has been sponsored by Alaska Seafood.