Gluten Free Blinis

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!

Ingredients

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
½ Lemon

Method

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.

Wild Alaskan Salmon With White Wine Infused Spring Greens

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!

Ingredients

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

Method

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.

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.

Kaliyoga

Since becoming gluten free, travelling has become a tall task. Exploring the world, anyone with allergies, intolerances or autoimmune diseases will know, always involves a lot of research, preparation and a significant amount of stress upon arrival to ensure that eateries will cater well and not result in illness. It is incredibly unusual therefore, that I get the chance to travel to a 100% gluten free destination. Being invited with my good friend Alice (@glutenfreealice) to experience not only the yoga on offer at Kaliyoga but the totally free from cuisine too was a huge privilege.

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Kaliyoga was founded by Rosie and Jonathon Miles back in 2002, who ventured to Spain in search of a location for a brand new yoga retreat. It was there, in the Alpujarra region in Andalucia, that they set up the first branch and 11 years later went on to establish a sister retreat in Puglia, Italy. The retreats offer a 6 day yoga experience, with cycling or walking activities too and work according to three basic principles: truth, wisdom and love. Guests are served three beautiful vegan meals a day, put together by a hard working team with guest seasonal chefs who all share one thing in common – a passion for delicious, plant-based food.

I had never followed a vegan diet before and what I was met with on day one totally exceeded my expectations. Upon arrival, we were met by the smell and sight of freshly baked gluten free bread, summer minestrone soup and beautiful, vibrant salads with mounds of crunchy seeds and herbs. “People fail to realize that there are a hundred times more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains than there are animal products,” guest chef Francesca, who has a vegan catering business in her hometown of Colorado, told me in an interview. “When you realize this, you start to see cooking vegan as a limitless possibility of flavors, textures and combinations, and cooking with the natural foods the earth grows and the sun nourishes is a truly beautiful thing,” Francesca added.

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Obviously elated that everything on the menu was gluten free, I could not wait to see what other delicious concoctions Francesca had in store for us. “A fully gluten free kitchen is very important to Kaliyoga,” Francesca told me. Founders Rosie and Jonathon began to see the demand for coeliac friendly cuisine several years ago and decided to make the switch to ensure that it was a totally inclusive space. “Before coming to work for Kaliyoga, I wasn’t a fully GF chef, but working here and eating the food I’ve been making made me realize that gluten free can sometimes mean much more natural and wholesome foods that are very high in fiber and minerals,” Francesca said, listing buckwheat flour for pasta or almond or sorghum flour for use in pizza crusts as her top discoveries in the kitchen.

Francesca admitted that gluten free cooking is sometimes challenging, especially when it comes to baking. “It’s definitely a science and it takes a bit of manoeuvring but once you get to know your best flours (mine are: quinoa flour, buckwheat, brown rice, almond flour, organic corn flour, chickpea flour) then the rest is just practice,” she said.

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The food choices were always a welcome surprise, and the menus kept a secret until the moment of the meal. As someone who cooks a lot for friends and family, I was positively overwhelmed to be free from decision making in this regard for a week and presented instead with colourful, filling meals each day, which at dinnertime involved three delicious courses. I don’t think I will ever forget the taste, texture and smell of the homemade pumpkin gnocchi I was served one night, which came tossed in a spicy red pepper sauce with local asparagus on the side, or the smooth fennel and pear soup which came topped with local olive oil and crunchy seeds.

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Desserts always exceeded expectations – a course which was undoubtedly won by the raw cheesecake with berry coulis and fresh strawberries. On two days, the non vegan crowd were surprised with a selection of local cheeses and eggs to accompany brunch, which were all delectable and allowed us to sample more of the local Puglian produce.

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After just 24 hours at Kaliyoga and three yoga classes lead by the incredible Tashi Dawa, I already felt a release. My body was less tense, my mind less heavy and my stomach free of complaints. I totally embraced the opportunity to be caffeine and alcohol free for the week, which allowed me to focus on my yoga practice and nourishment – two things which I had rarely given time to back home in London.

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It is also easy to be relaxed at Kaliyoga. When you’re not taking part in a yoga class, or cycling in the countryside, the environment onsite encourages tranquility and breaks from social media or technology. When I first heard this I will admit I was nervous, as my lifestyle means I am usually glued to my phone. There was however something incredibly refreshing about removing myself from the outside world, and totally focusing on rejuvenating my mind and being kind to my body, which included spending time with the retreat dogs, Tommy and Akira and their friend – Nabuco the donkey.

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Rejuvenation also came thanks to the food I was eating. Gluten free food can often be full of sugar and unpronounceable ingredients but at Kaliyoga I was able to consume food that was only doing my body good, which is a feeling so great, I honestly can not put it down into words. Thank you, Kaliyoga for such a wonderful and refreshing experience – I am already planning my return and cannot wait for more yoga, peace and gnocchi!

For more information and to book your stay at Kaliyoga, please visit the company website

 

 

Gluten Free Rosemary Crackers

While I love to indulge in a traditional post-dinner cheese plate in true British style, sometimes I just have to give into my pre-meal craving. In the US, cheese and crackers are often enjoyed as an appetiser, and they definitely played a huge role in my household growing up. My mom would often put out a board of soft and hard cheeses with a selection of crackers and while obviously these were the gluten days, I still look back on them fondly.

After being gifted some beautiful rosemary by my friend Jessie, I decided to put it to good use and create some gluten free crackers which are naturally dairy free and can be paired with a selection of dairy free or regular cheeses. Enjoy with a cucumber gin and tonic for the perfect start to your dinner party!

Gluten Free Rosemary Crackers
(Makes Around 20 Small Crackers)

Ingredients

For the crackers:
2 x Cups Gluten Free Flour
1 x Teaspoon Xantham Gum
3 x Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary (chopped or torn)
2 x Teaspoons Rough Sea Salt
2 x Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 x Cups Water

For the Garnish:
1 x Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 x Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary
1 x Teaspoon Rough Sea Salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Gradually add the water and oil and mix quickly with a wooden spoon to create a dough. The dough should hold together and not stick to the spoon. If it sticks, add a little more flour to dry it out.
  4. Roll out the dough onto baking paper to create a layer with a thickness of around 1cm. Cut carefully into squares and separate on the baking paper before placing both onto a baking tray. Note – the squares, unless you use a cutter, will not be perfectly formed as the dough softens but fear not! I think this creates more of a rustic-looking cracker!
  5. Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove tray from oven and using a spatula, carefully turn all the crackers over and drizzle with the olive oil, rosemary and sea salt set aside for garnish, and return to the oven for a remaining 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and allow the crackers to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving with an array of cheeses.

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)

Ingredients

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

Method

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.