Gluten Free

Sweet and savoury goodies without a single speck of gluten but loads of flavour.

I don’t have a gluten intolerance but I have friends and family who do and I know some of you, my readers, are gluten free so I try my best to give you a good range of yummy treats, both meals and desserts.

Spicy Eggplant Dip

Posted on December 13, 2007

Spicy Eggplant Dip

This is a twist on the delicious Lebanese dip, babaganoush. I’ve used harissa, which is a North African spice paste that is extremely hot, so please use sparingly unless you have an acquired taste for a fiery tongue!

Serve with grissini, toasted pita bread or crunchy raw vegetables for dipping.

Happy cooking, Christie

Spicy Eggplant Dip
makes approximately 1 cup

1 large eggplant (aubergine)
1 teaspoon harissa paste*
1 heaped tablespoon thick Greek style yoghurt
1 tablespoon mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon sunflower seeds, toasted
Sea salt and white pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C. Place the whole eggplant on a non stick baking tray and bake for 45mins, turning once.

Slice the eggplant length ways and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Transfer to a bowl and mash roughly into a paste, leaving some texture. Add the harissa paste and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool to room temperature.

Once cool, add the yoghurt, mint and seeds and mix well. Serve garnished with extra seeds and mint.

*Available from delicatessens, speciality grocers and selected supermarkets.

Witlof and Smoked Salmon Canapes

Posted on December 10, 2007

Witlof and Smoked Salmon canapes

It’s that time of year when friends drop in unexpectedly for drinks and you need to whip up something quick and easy to serve with all the booze. These delicious canapés have a nice little heat kick that can be quenched just as easily with champagne or beer – how’s that for a crowd pleaser?

I haven’t specified ingredient quantities, so that you can make as little or as many as you need.

Happy cooking, Christie

Witlof and smoked salmon canapés

Witlof, washed and leaves separated
Lebanese cucumber
Smoked salmon
Sour cream
Wasabi paste
Coriander and white pepper to garnish

Mix together sour cream and wasabi paste, (4 tablespoons of sour cream to 1 teaspoon of wasabi) and set aside. Trim the stalks of the witlof leaves if needed.

Slice cucumber into thin matchsticks and place a small mound into a witlof leaf. Top with half a slice of smoked salmon and a teaspoon of the sour cream mixture.

Garnish with fresh coriander and white pepper. Serve with a lemon wedge for squeezing.

Chicken and Pear Salad

Posted on December 3, 2007

Chicken and Pear Salad

I love salads at any time, but they’re even better in the summer. Balancing the creamy, salty and sweet flavours with a few ‘crunch’ ingredients is a delicate act.

This salad was inspired by a trip to the James Squire Brewhouse & Restaurant where I ate a peppered rare beef salad with apple and green mango. It got me thinking about the two juicy pears I had sitting in my fruit bowl… Can fruit and meat live happily together? The answer is yes.

I have to say, I think this salad would go down nicely with a tall glass of JS Pale Ale too!

Chicken and Pear Salad
serves 4 for a light lunch

2 skinless chicken breasts
1 baby cos lettuce
2 ripe green pears, thinly sliced
1 avocado, halved and sliced
200g Danish feta, sliced or crumbled
3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
pinch of dark brown sugar
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
chives to garnish (optional)

Whisk together the vinegar, oil and sugar. Season and set aside.

Thinly slice the chicken breasts on the diagonal and cook on a griddle pan for about 5 minutes, turning once. Or until crispy caramelised lines appear and the chicken is cooked all the way through on both sides.

Separate and wash the leaves of the baby cos lettuce and place onto serving plates. Divide up and layer the sliced pear, avocado, feta and chicken onto each salad. Whisk the vinegar mixture again and dress sparingly. Garnish with chives if desired.

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