Thursday, 29 July 2010

Cookie monster

These gluten-free oats just keep calling me!

I've seen a few microwave muffin/cookie concoctions on blogs and thought oats+cookie+almond butter = mmm.

So almost as soon as I got home, I tried out a recipe of my own. I'll just have to make another one *sigh* in order to take a picture because the first was scarfed down so quickly (purely for research purposes of course) that there was no chance of getting the camera out!

In less than two minutes, there it was...

2tbsp oats
1 egg white
1tsp almond butter (I might just have to double this next time...)
Pinch baking powder
Pinch salt
Sweetener to taste

Mix everything together until really well blended, then put on a plate (I just used my amazing bake-o-glide silicon liner sheet) and microwave on medium/high for about 40 seconds. Don't let it overcook and dry out; keep checking.

Mine had risen to about 2in high after 30 seconds, but it did calm back down once the power was turned off.

I spread mine out so it was quite thin and saucer-sized and it was delicious (I think I may have said...) but I think doing it in a mug and making a muffin would also work (more experimenting needed, clearly!)

Update - was patient enough to take a picture of this one!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Take it as bread

Anyone with coeliac disease, or who can't eat wheat/gluten will know that it's almost impossible to get good bread.
I don't generally like things which are recreated to mimic gluten-containing products because there are so many ingredients you can use instead as they are which taste better than "substitutes".
But bread's a different story. Because it's the gluten that gives it its elasticity, any made without tends to crumble as soon as you look at it or resembles dense doughy sponge. Yuk.
So I gave up on bread and experimented instead with my own alternatives.
And when Alex, of Spoonful of Sugar Free posted this appeal for help for a friend with a restricted diet, it reminded me of these; gluten-free tortilla (type things!)

85g flour, combination of rice and buckwheat
40g potato starch/flour
1.5 tsp tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
125ml warm water
(These are fiddly quantities but it works, although I'm sure other flours would work too, I've been meaning to try coconut, as long as the wet/dry ratio stays the same)

Mix everything together and divide batter into eight lumps. Roll/flatten them out as thinly as you can (the dough is REALLY sticky so this is hard - I put it on a floured board with floured cling film on top and banged them with the bottom of a saucepan... then squashed them thinner by hand to about the size of saucers - very technical!)

Then just saute them in a dry pan - no oil needed - for a minute or two on each side. Their texture isn't like bread, more like a chewy/slightly crisp pitta. I freeze them, then take them to work and eat as sandwiches with my favourite spread (equal amounts almond butter and milk with a bit of honey) and a sliced banana - delicious and it fills me up all afternoon!

My current favourite though is this pancake/omelettewrap/whatever:

1 egg
1 tbsp flax seed.

Beat together and saute in a hot pan coated with cooking spray for a minute or two each side and voila!
Much healthier than bread and it makes as delicious and filling a sandwich as the tortillas. Mmmmm...

Tomorrow's lunch, minus the almond butter. It isn't safe even to get the jar out at this time of night...!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Sunday, sundae...

Back in my very, very unhealthy days, I occasionally had just milk chocolate for breakfast. The worst thing is that that morning Cadbury's fix was often probably the healthiest part of that day's diet! 

And although those days are no more, it's definite that I'm not a stranger to the pudding-for-breakfast idea. So whe Katie introduced her Breakfast Sundae challenge, it seemed rude not to join in...

This bowl of deliciousness comprised:

About 30g oats, soaked in water overnight

A serving of butternut squash baked custard (adapted slightly from Heather's genius recipe)

Sliced banana

About 1tbsp toasted oats

Almond butter sauce (1tbsp almond butter, mixed with 1tbsp milk and a drizzle of honey)

The picture does it no credit; it was almost too beautiful to eat (but not quite).

But I don't think I've completely captures the Breakfast Sundae challenge. I've eaten plenty of ice cream over the years but never had what would "officially" be called a sundae... but I think a proper one needs layers, it needs nuts, it needs - CHOCOLATE!

Sundae Mark II to follow...

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Summer, summertime!

I once had an argument  a discussion with a girl from work about summer v winter and she was unshakable in her opinion that winter is better. What?!

I'm lucky enough to live in a really rural area and this time of year is gorgeous. I cycle up to the yard to see Dave twice a day and have to concentrate on the bike because otherwise my mouth would just be hanging open at how beautiful it is everywhere.

Light evenings, lying in bed with the window wide open and the smell of honeysuckle drifting in, drinking Pimm's in the pub garden... how can you compare that to frostbite and never seeing your home in daylight??

I'm also lucky enough to have a dad whose passion is growing fruit and vegetables. Not only is his vegetable patch bigger than my house, he orders me to take stuff from it! Thanks to him, my dinner last night consisted of stuffed courgette, runner beans, peas (not even cooked, they're that good) and carrots, followed by his raspberries, loganberries and gooseberries. The best dad ever (not just because of the food. but it helps...!)

And talking about the amazing berries, I thought they (or at least some of them) should feature in Chocolate Covered Katie's hug-a-fruit month. I couldn't really hug them, but here they are!

(Ok, if we're being really picky, he may not have grown the banana. He's good but he ain't that good!)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

T-oat-al joy

Another day, another rubbish pun!

When I found out I could eat oats again, a couple of months ago, I nearly cried (!)
I used to have porridge every day (so thick you could almost have sliced it, mmm) but when I was diagnosed with coeliac disease, that had to stop.

But, after three years of gluten-free cereal (rice and millet porridge just isn't the same) I found out that the reason oats are out for coeliacs is because they're almost always contaminated with other grains. They also contain a substance which isn't exactly the same as the gluten found in wheat, rye and barley but causes the same reactions in many people with coeliac disease. BUT supermarkets now sell guaranteed pure, uncontaminated oats and the medical advice is, try introducing them a bit at a time and see what happens.
So I scorched down to Sainsbury's and bought a bag of "free from" oats (stupidly expensive at £2.99 for 450g but I've since found cheaper and I think I'd have paid three times that!)

A week and no bad reactions later and..... breakfast bliss! And so many options... my favourite is cold porridge, or overnight oats.

I just put them in a box with enough water to cover them and then microwave them in the morning for a few seconds to take the chill off. I know there's a whole world of nut butter, fruit and chocolate possibility out there but, after three years without the King of Grains, I think simple is best...!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

First (past the) post...

How rubbish am I, using the title of my first post to make a bad pun on the British voting system...! That's what goes with being a journalist, I suppose; rubbish puns are the way to go and you can never escape politics...

I only discovered the world of other people's amazing blogs a couple of months ago when I was looking for a gluten-free recipe for something on the internet and since then have realised how many brilliant and creative bloggers there are around so I'm asking nicely, can I play?!

I don't know if anyone will ever read the random wanderings of my mind but if you do, please say hello! I've been trying out some recipes for things I like (which doesn't mean anyone else will) and will try to get some up at some point. They will all be gluten free, some dairy free and grain free too, and fairly "healthy".

To start with, I'm off work this week so have been a bit more creative when it comes to breakfast. I'd been wondering about a sweet omelette since I saw this recipe from Peanut Butter Boy but I tried it and - yuck.

I have to make clear, this was nothing to do with PBB's lovely recipe, it was all cook error but the resulting revolting mess (shouldn't have added strawberries to the pan - did NOT work!) put me off trying again.

But the cogs started whirring somewhere up there and I decided to combine the banana and egg white (I somehow think egg white goes more with sweetness than the yolk) first, with some oats to give it a bit of body and then cook it. I then topped it with a mix of coconut butter and cocoa powder.

Result - mmmmm! A crisp-edged sweetish omelette with a serving of fruit, lots of lovely protein, fibre and healthy fat - and chocolate! What's not to like?

Banana pancake/omelette joy

3 tbsp oats

1 ripe banana
1 egg white
Anything you feel like mixing in! Cinnamon, sweetener, vanilla... but I like it as it is.
Mash the banana to oblivion with a fork, then add oats and egg white and mix well.
Cook for a couple of minutes in a hot pan coated with cooking spray until browned, then flip over and repeat (This is a heavy "pancake" and so needs tactful handling, as the burn on my finger demonstrates...)

Turn out and enjoy! I had mine drizzled with chocolate coconut butter (Artisana mixed with cocoa powder) and it was delicious.

Take care,

NB - for coeliacs, oats are usually a no-go but you can get gluten-free ones - more later on this...