Tuesday 4 October 2011

Too Much of a Good Thing?


My son like crêpes. He really likes crêpes. I'm could probably fill one with brussel sprouts and he'd gobble it up. Well, maybe that's going a bit too far. He likes them for breakfast the most. His favourite thing to have on them are 'lemon' juice and sugar. I find this a little boring and have made a really lovely filling that would work for breakfast or dessert and there are a few more things you could do for non-failsafe family members or guests who join you for brunch.

We had these crêpes on the weekend just gone. It was the long weekend, so theoretically we had unlimited time to spend making breakfast. Batter was made, batter was resting, filling was gently simmering on the stove, I started to cook the crêpes and suddenly everything stopped. We had run out of gas! That has never happened before. We are not connected to town gas, but have two enormous cylinders that are solely for the cook top. They do nothing else and last forever. We have been here nearly six years and have only needed one replaced in all that time. But alas, we were out of gas.

Out comes the trusty old electric frypan that I haven't used in years and almost threw away recently. Thank goodness I didn't because we won't have gas until Wednesday. It took ages to cook the crêpes one at a time on that thing and the filling was finished off in the microwave.

This is the same basic crêpe recipe that I have posted previously.

Basic Crêpe Recipe

  • 250g plain gluten free flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 410ml (1 2/3cup) milk of choice - I used rice milk
  • 125ml (1/2cup) water
  • 1tbsp melted nuttelex
  • Failsafe oil for frying.

  1. Sift flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  2. Mix the eggs, milk and water together and pour slowly into the well.
  3. Whisk until everything is incorporated and you have a reasonably smooth batter.
  4. Stir in melted nuttelex. Cover and stand for at least 20mins.
  5. Heat a crêpe pan or medium sized non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Wipe or spray with a little oil. 
  6. Pour in enough batter to thinly coat the base of the pan (a soup ladle was pretty spot on for my pan), tipping it around to get it to the edges.When the crêpe starts to lift away at the edges give it a gentle shake so it comes loose and turn and cook on the other side for a minute of two. They should be slightly golden.
Stack on a plate (you could put baking paper between them to make sure they don't stick, although mine didn't stick together) and cover with foil until they are all done. They can be frozen with paper between them.

I had previously made this filling on Fathers Day, just so there was something else that my boy could eat, and it was just so good. The smell alone is drool worthy.

Vanilla Pears

  • 3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped into smallish pieces (roughly 1cm cubes) or use tinned pears in syrup.
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup of water (or if you use tinned pears you could substitute part of this for some syrup)
  • 3cm piece of vanilla bean, split lengthwise.
  1. Put sugar, water and vanilla into a saucepan over medium heat
  2. Stir until the sugar dissolves and mixture comes to the boil
  3. Simmer until the syrup reduces by about a quarter.
  4. Add pears and simmer until they are soft.
  5. Spoon into crêpes and fold over.
Sweet and caramely and fragrant with vanilla

Have 'lemon' juice and sugar or just pure maple syrup or golden syrup.
Salicylates - Add a small piece of cinnamon stick to the pot. Or fill with fresh strawberries and maple syrup.
Dairy - Serve with big dollops of whipped cream or ice cream
Amines - Place some broken up good quality dark chocolate on half of the crêpe while it is still in the pan. When the chocolate starts to melt fold crêpe into quarters and serve. I have incredibly fond memories of eating crêpes au chocolat noir while wandering around Paris at midnight.

If you are having visitors you could put all the different fillings into bowls on the table and let everyone help themselves.

crêpe au chocolat noir

Strawberries, maple syrup and whipped cream

Saturday 1 October 2011

Ooh la la!

Or in english "I say, that is a lot of garlic!"

This is another french dish which I absolutely love and my son loves it too. There is so much garlic, but after being roasted it is all soft and sweet and just delicious. You can serve it with your favourite bread or with mash and veg to make a big meal out it. My son is currently challenging gluten, so I made an unbelievably good spelt baguette to go with it which I will post soon. It is a really simple meal to make and great for when you are having guests because you can just put it in the oven and not do anything else until it it is done.

Once again this recipe is adapted from a french cook book that I own.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic


  • 1 chicken, skinned, approx 1.6kg (if you want to serve 4 people)
  • 2 celery stalks, including leaves
  • 40 cloves of garlic, unpeeled (take off the thin papery skins, but leave on the inner thick one)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large leek, cut into about 4 chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups of home made chicken stock (or water, but if you use water add another chunk of leek and celery)
  • 4 springs parsley
  1. Preheat your oven to 200℃
  2. Put a chopped celery stalk, sprig of parsley and 6 garlic cloves into the chicken cavity. Tie the legs together. Brush with oil and season with salt.
  3. Put 10 cloves of garlic in the bottom of a casserole dish, along with the rest of the parsley, a chopped celery stick and the leek.
  4. Put the chicken in the dish. Add the remaining garlic around the chicken and pour over the stock (or water) and what is left of the oil.
  5. Cover and bake for 1hour and 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear.
  6. Lift out the chicken and strain the liquid into a saucepan. Reserve all the garlic.
  7. Boil the liquid for a few minutes to reduce it slightly
  8. Cut the chicken into serving portions (good kitchen scissors make this job easy), pour over the juices and scatter with garlic. Serve with bread or veg (the garlic is particularly good spread over bread).

Amines - leave the skin on the chicken.
Salicylates - Add 4 sprigs of thyme, 2 of rosemary and a roughly chopped carrot to the pot.
You could also use chicken pieces instead of a whole chicken (for example if you only like breast or if you can't be bothered to cut up a whole one). Cooking time will come down to 45mins - 1hour depending on the size of the pieces.

The best things in life are free...

... Free of gluten, free of dairy and free of all those nasty chemicals that make life in this house not fun.

This pie is free of all those things and it's so good that your guests won't even know it.

Without further ado I give you the gluten free, dairy free, soy free, lemon free-

Lemon Meringue Pie!

This is an amalgamation of several recipes that I adapted and put together for this.
The pastry is the same that I used for the pear tart. I will put it here again, though, to save you having to go look for it. 

Sweet pastry

  • 340g gluten free plain flour
  • a small pinch of salt
  • 150g nuttelex
  • 90g icing sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 180℃
  2. Sift flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of a food processor add the nuttelex and pulse until the nuttelex is incorporated and you have something resembling bread crumbs.
  3. Add the eggs with the motor running and process until a dough starts to form.
  4. Tip out onto some cling wrap, knead into a ball, wrap and put in the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. Roll the pastry between sheets of baking paper and line a 23cm loose based tart tin, trimming the edges.
  6. Line with baking paper and fill with baking weights or dried beans or rice.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove beads and paper and bake for a further 4 minutes or until the pastry is just cooked, but still pale.

The Filling
This makes a thin layer of lemon filling, approximately 1cm deep. If you like more it is fairly simple to increase the quantity by thirds.

  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 1 1/2 tsp citric acid 
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 egg yolks

  1. Put sugar, flour, citric acid and water into a saucepan and stir until combined.
  2. Put saucepan over a medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes to the boil (it may go lumpy at first, but don't dismay, keep stirring and it will become smooth as it all cooks).
  3. Remove from heat and whisk egg yolks thoroughly into the mixture.
  4. Cover with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours (not completely necessary, if you are short on time, but cool it a bit)

The Meringue
If you like lots and lots of meringue then by all means make more.

  • 3 egg whites at room temperature (conveniently left over from the filling)
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  1. Place egg whites in the bowl of a mixer and beat on a medium speed until firmish peaks form, but not till it's dry.
  2. Add caster sugar bit by bit while still beating until it is all dissolved and you have a thick, glossy meringue mixture.

Now put it all together
  1. Spread the lemon filling evenly over the base.
  2. Top with meringue so that it joins the pastry all the way around and it mounds up in the middle.
  3. Bake for approx 10 minutes or until the meringue is golden.
I think I have the worlds most poorly lit dining room.


 If you want mini pies, use little tart tins. Unless you are making loads of them you will probably only need a third of the filling mixture. Excess pastry can be frozen and used at a later date. Just remove from the freezer and that at room temperature before trying to roll.