Great Food Gluten Free

Gluten Free family favorite recipes

Seared Beef with Orange and Chilli

2014-06-22 19.33.28With the continuing sunny weekend days try this wonderful dish on the BBQ this weekend. Its a dish that I first started cooking a few years ago in Cyrpus where the beef is so tender, the local oranges so juicy and the chillies are so vibrant. I found and adapted the recipe in a BBC Good Food Magazine – August 2008


1 piece of beef between 1kg and 2 kg – I usually speak with the butcher and have a piece cut thick from the rump, about 5 cm thick is best.
Zest of 2 oranges
2 red chillies with the seeds removed and finely chopped
2 shallots finely chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

Salt and Pepper to season the beef before cooking


Put the beef in a large food bag.

Mix together all the remaining ingredients and pour into the bag with the beef. Massage the marinade into the beef and seal the bag and place on a plate and put in the fridge.

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Leave for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight if possible.

Remove the beef from the bag and season with salt and pepper on both sides of the meat.

Cook on a hot BBQ for 8 – 10 minutes on each side until well brown and cooked to your preference.

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Remove from the BBQ and put on a cutting board and cover over with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Carve the beef across the grain into slices and serve.

Seared Beef with an Orange and Chili Marinade
Seared Beef with an Orange and Chili Marinade

Gluten Free in Australia and Singapore…and a new job

It has been a while since I last posted a blog and the past few months have been exciting and busy times for me.

Firstly I have a new job, its a dream job for me as General Manager of a top quality catering company, combining my skills in catering, hospitality and events along with my passion for great food.

I started my new job after a three week “trip of a lifetime” holiday to Singapore and Australia where we visited relatives and toured the East Coast, the outback, the wine districts, the Blue Mountains and ended in Sydney where we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.

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An anniversary desert on the 70th floor of the Swissotel overlooking Marina Bay, Singapore

Gluten Free in Singapore and Australia couldn’t be more different. In Singapore unless you stay in the top 5 star hotels they really don’t get Gluten Free.  On our first evening in Singapore we tried to explain and when we asked for no flour, they proudly presented a dish and said they had taken off the parsley garnish as this was the flower (flour) – how we laughed!   My suggestion for anyone on a Gluten Free diet visiting Singapore is to make your own informed choice from the menus.

Australia is the opposite; in the shops, bakeries and supermarkets the choice of Gluten Free products is so much more extensive than in the UK and when eating out from the smallest cafe in the outback to restaurants in Sydney they are knowledgeable and have plenty to offer. Byron Bay is like being in the gluten free capital of the world where everything comes as gluten free.

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Gluten Free Orange and Polenta cake at a beach cafe on Byron Bay

A special mention goes to friends Chris and Lorella, who we visited for lunch on the Gold Coast, Lorella cooked Gluten Free for the first time and as an Italian made two Gluten Free pizzas and Chris cooked them on a wood smoked barbecue – they were amazing – thin, crispy and the best ever Italian Gluten Free Pizza  Maybe Lorella will share the recipe with me one day and I will put it on the blog.

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Lorella’s Gluten Free pizza

I will be continuing with posting my favorite Gluten Free recipes starting this week with a delicious recipe for Seared Rump in an Orange and Chili marinade, great for a late summer Barbecue while we are still getting some wonderful sunny weekends.

Seared Rump with an Orange and Chili Marinade
Seared Rump with an Orange and Chili Marinade

Beef Lasagne

lasagneA classic Italian dish that has become one of the most popular dishes in the UK with the non gluten free ready meal version outselling all other ready meals. I have been making a gluten free Beef Lasagne for years and is a great favorite of ours.

There are several makes of gluten free lasagne pasta sheets available; I often use the DS lasagne sheets but have recently found a fantastic gluten free lasagne by Pastificio La Rosa.

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1 box of gluten free lasagne sheets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium carrot, cut into small dices
500g minced beef
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of red wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 quantity of my bechamel sauce
 25g grated Parmesan cheese


Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the dried sheets of lasagne sheets and cook for between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the manufactures instructions and are only just cooked.  Carefully drain and rinse under running cold water until cold. Separate the cooled lasagne sheets and put to one side until you assemble the lasagne.

In a frying pan heat 1 tablespoon of  the olive oil and add the chopped onion, crushed garlic and diced carrot. Fry gently for a few minutes until soft, add the minced beef and continue frying until the mince is browned.  Add a the tomato paste and dijon mustard and stir in.  Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, the cup of red wine and the dried oregano. Cook for 20 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the bechamel sauce as per my recipe.

To assemble the Lasagne; use an oblong earthenware dish approximately 30cm by 20cm. Spoon about one third of the meat mixture into the dish and spread to cover the base of the dish.  Cover with a layer of the cooked lasagne sheets (you may need to cut them to the correct size of the dish) Top the lasagne sheet layer with one third of the bechamel sauce and spread to cover the lasagne.  Add another 2 layers of the meat mix, lasagne sheets and bechamel sauce.  On the final top layer of bechamel sauce sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese.

Place on a baking tray and bake in a hot  oven at 180C for approximately 30 minutes or until it is bubbling around the edges and golden brown on top.

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Bechamel Sauce



Bechamel is a classic white sauce made with butter and flour (roux) and milk.  I learned to make this when I was at college and have adapted the recipe to make a great gluten free sauce. It is an important sauce to master and has many uses and particularly for one of the UK’s most popular dishes – Lasagne. I will be posting my Lasagne recipe tomorrow and thus the reason for this sauce recipe today.  As well as being used in Lasagne, bechamel sauce has many other uses and particular as a cheese sauce for cauliflower cheese and macaroni cheese.


download (3)Ingredients:

400ml full fat milk
2 bay leaves
sprig of thyme
1 small onion studded with 6 cloves
50g unsalted butter
60g gluten free plain flour
salt and ground black pepper.


Heat the milk in a sauce pan with the bay leaves, sprig of thyme and the onion studded with  the cloves. Slowly bring to a simmer and remove from the heat and cover. Leave for 30 minutes for the flavours to infuse and then strain out the bits reserving the milk for the sauce
Gently melt the butter in a pan with a good base. Once melted take off the heat and stir in the flour. It will become a thick paste called a roux. Slowly add the warm milk stiring well to blend into the roux.   Put back on a low heat and slowly heat stiring all the time to prevent it burning or going lumpy.  Cook for about 3 – 5 minutes or until it comes to a simmer and remove from the heat. Whisk with a balloon whisk to a creamy consistency.  Add more milk if it is too thick and if it goes lumpy give it a wizz with a hand held blended.  It should be like a thick custard consistency.  Season with salt and pepper. Cover with greasproof paper to prevent a skin forming.


Product review – Genius breakfast pastries

pain choccrios and jam

Genius have recently introduced their range of breakfast pastries; Croissants and Pain au Chocolate and I was lucky to be sent samples to try and review.  Its a product range that in the gluten free market is limited and there is certainly room for a supermarket supplier to succeed in this area.

Genius Pain au Chocolate

pain cut in half

Light, buttery, flaky and crisp and the chocolate filling is rich and plenty of it.  This is a wonderful pastry and we have already been out several times and bought more. They are in packs of 2 and although not cheap at £2.00 per pack they are worth the treat for a weekend breakfast. Serve hot from the oven after about 8 – 10 minutes at 170C




Genius Croissants

These didn’t appeal to us quite as much as the pain au chocolate.  Somehow they don’t seem as close to the non guten free croissants. Not as flaky and light as the pain au chocolate and a little stodgy in side.  As well as being gluten / wheat free these are also dairy free. Packaged in packs of 2 and also around £2.00 per package. Bake at 170C for 8 – 10 minutes.

crios in half





Raspberry and Chocolate Roulade

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The combination of the rich chocolate ganache, the soft meringue inside and crispy outside and the juicy sweet raspberries make this a perfect dessert to serve at a BBQ or after Sunday lunch on a summers day.


4 egg whites
175g caster sugar
1 and a half tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
150ml double cream
175g dark chocolate
icing sugar to dust
125g fresh raspberries


Line a 33cm by 21cm swiss roll tin with baking parchment.  Heat the oven to 160C (fan oven) or 180C (non fan oven)

Using an electric hand whisk, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time while whisking well until stiff and glossy. Fold in the cornflour and vinegar.  Spoon the mix into the swiss roll tin and smooth with a palette knife.

Bake for 15 minutes until its just firm to touch. Cool, uncovered for at least 30 minutes.

Make the ganache; put the cream and 150g of the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Heat gently until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and stir to combine the cream and melted chocolate.  Cool for at least one hour.

Dust a sheet of baking parchment with icing sugar and turn the meringue onto it. Trim the edges and spread the ganache over the meringue.  Scatter most of the raspberries over the ganache.  Roll up from one of the short sides using the paper to help roll it.

Transfer to a serving plate and chill until ready to serve. Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl over simmering water until melted.  Drizzle the melted chocolate over the roulade and decorate with the remaining raspberries.

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Product review – DS Gluten Free Ciabatta Rolls

Gluten Free Brown Ciabatta

DS recently sent me a pack of their gluten free brown ciabatta rolls to try.  Its been some time since we last bought these and it was good to have them again.

They were one of the really good rolls before all the “newcomers” to the gluten free ranges became available in the supermarkets and they won a Free From Award in the “Breads and Bread Mixes” category in 2011 where the judges claimed “A really outstanding product – first bread without codex wheat starch that really manages to successfully mimic the texture of bread”

They have a crispy crust with a light, soft middle (without falling apart or being too crumbly), high in fibre and low in saturated fat. Put them in the oven for a hot roll and also great served straight from the packet and they taste like bread.  They are perfect filled with lunch fillings for a packed lunch, great with soups and also make a good garlic bread when brushed with garlic butter.

Packaged in a plastic long life packet with 4 small rolls and available in most supermarkets at about £2.00 a packet.

Verdict: still one of the best gluten free rolls in the supermarket, the only down side is they are a little on the small side.






Pear Cake

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I stumbled on this recipe a few years ago in a BBC Good Food Magazine and it has become a favourite with our gluten free family. It is best served warm with crème fraiche as a dessert rather than a cake. Lovely after a roast Sunday lunch as it it is light and fruity with the rich buttery taste of the pears.


50g butter melted plus extra for greasing the tin
500g ripe pears, peeled cored and roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of liquor (optional) – Poire William, Kirsch, Snaps, Brandy etc
75g plain gluten free plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
75g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons apricot jam for the glaze
icing sugar to sieve over the cake
crème fraiche to serve


Line a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin with baking parchment and brush with butter.
In a bowl put the chopped pear and add the lemon juice and liquor if using.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into another bowl and add the salt and castor sugar.
Beat in the eggs and melted butter then fold in the pears and the lemon juice.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 50 minutes at 180C or until a skewer comes out clean and the top is golden.
Let cool slightly before taking out of the tin and don’t forget to remove the baking parchment.

To make the glaze melt the apricot jam with 1 tablespoon of water and sieve to remove the pieces.

Brush the glaze over the top of the cake and dust with icing sugar and serve warm with crème fraiche.

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Product review – Newburn Bakehouse Cracker Thins

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Newburn Bakehouse Cracker Thins

Newburn Bakehouse recently sent me some of their new Cracker Thins to sample and review.

Two flavours – Blue Cheese and Sweet Chilli are both equally delicious. At last a new cracker biscuit is available that is crisp, thin and full of flavour and different to so many of the other gf biscuits we have become used to in the supermarkets.

The Blue Cheese Cracker Thin has real authentic taste of blue cheese and is amazing with a creamy chunk of Stilton on it.

The Sweet Chilli Cracker Thins have a lovely chilli kick to them and perfect with Mature Cheddar or a rustic Camembert and a dollop of spicy tomato chutney.

As well as having them with the obvious – cheeses, we enjoyed them with other dishes;  great on the side with a dish of risotto, a bowl of soup, frittata or for snacking with your favourite dip.

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images (6)They are suitable for vegetarians and available from many supermarkets across the UK. Packed in 135g boxes with a plastic tray inside to keep them from breaking.

Definitely a winner with us.

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Howard Middleton

Howard Middleton, a previous Great British Bake Off contestant has recently been appointed by Newburn BakeHouse as their #Lunchoff Ambassador.  He has teamed up with Warburton’s Newburn Bakehouse to make lunches more varied and interesting. You can see Howard demonstrating some of his tasty ideas on a series of You Tube videos.  Click here to link to them

Read my guest blog on the Newburn Bakehouse website and read my feature on #Lunchoff – Packed lunches for the working week click here



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