Gluten Free Homemade Pizza

I have to say that the gluten free Pizza Express pizza you can get from most supermarkets are pretty good, as are those you can get from most high street restaurants.

Being on lockdown though means that going out for pizza isn’t going to happen, also we were avoiding unnecessary trips to the supermarket as well.

So we decided to make our own pizza. This was somewhat of a challenge, as though we had yeast, we had no bread flour, so we decided to use gluten free plain flour.

      • 225g strong plain flour (we used plain flour)
      • 1 tsp fast acting yeast
      • ½ tsp salt
      • 150mls of hand hot water
      • 4 tablespoons of tomato puree
      • 85g hard cheese
      • Selection of toppings

Mix the yeast with the flour and add the water.

Mix into a dough.

These were then rolled and flattened into pizza shapes on a baking tray.

We then put them in a warm place to rise. I think we should have left them for longer to enable them to rise further, but we were short on time.

I think it might have worked better if we had bread or strong flour.

The last time we did this (we used bread flour) the toppings were cooked well before the base was done. I don’t have a pizza oven or a pizza stone. Previously when making “homemade” gluten free pizza, we have used ready to go bases. So this time I part baked the bases to ensure that they were cooked properly. 

We then used tomato puree for the tomato base. I would have preferred to use passata but the family don’t like it very much, it can also make the dough soggy, works better in a proper pizza oven.

We then added a range of toppings including pepper, mushrooms, red onion and ham.

We only had cheddar cheese in the fridge, I would have preferred grated mozzarella, but all we had was the cheddar. 

Overall, it was nothing like Bella Italia or Pizza Express, however they were delicious and were finished off in double quick time. Lots of conversations about was our food okay and did we want to see the dessert menu.

Time for Low and Slow

In this blog post I am remembering my most recent visit to Low and Slow, which took place some weeks before the lockdown in February.

Having been a staple of the street food markets for many years I was pleased to see Low and Slow find a more permanent home in St Nicholas’ Market in Bristol. I have eaten there once or twice I think since they moved in, but I have noticed on more recent visits to the market that they have sold out quite quickly of their slow smoked beef brisket, so I have missed out. What was happening was I was going for a walk at lunchtime I would walk through the market see the Low and Slow stall and think, I’ll come back here to get some food for lunch, but by the time I returned they had sold out! So I then go somewhere different.

On a recent visit to the market, I went early and remembering what had happened before, I decided to order there and then, and managed to secure a delicious lunch. I went with the Barbecue Box which consists of a slice of slow smoked beef brisket, pulled pork, burnt ends and your choice of two sides. This time I went with fries and slaw.

low and slow barbecue box

The brisket was full of flavour and had a melt in the mouth texture. It’s so delicious and tender. When I have had brisket in barbecue restaurants it’s never as good as the brisket from Low and Slow. I enjoyed the pulled pork and the burnt ends were rather tasty. The fries added texture and the slaw freshness. It was a delicious lunch and I will miss going back there, as we seem to be in lock down for a while now. I also hope that all the stalls in St Nicholas Market survive the temporary closure, and I for one will be back to support them when the market reopens. 

Gluten Free Breakfast Waffles

Breakfast Waffles

This is a quick and simple method to make puffy breakfast waffles.

I bought a special waffle frying pan from Aldi a few weeks back and it works really well for cooking breakfast waffles.

Waffle Pancake Pan

These ingredients should make three batches, so twenty one waffles in one cooking session.

I take a cup of self-raising gluten free flour, a cup of milk, one egg, a large spoon of sugar and some vanilla essence.

Whisk the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter. You may want to add extra milk if the batter is too thick.

Heat the pan on a moderate to low heat, you need these to cook through and not be overdone on the outside and sticky in the middle, You’re aiming for a puffy waffle with crisp(ish) outside.

I brushed the pan with some sunflower oil and pour Not too much) of the batter into the pan.

You have to take care to ensure that the pancakes cook all the way through, but isn’t overdone (or even burnt) on the surface. I do find turning them can be quite messy, so be careful. I use two breakfast spoons to turn them.

Serve with fresh fruit or maple syrup.

Boxing Day Beef

A little late in posting, but I do find these posts useful for future years.

I had originally planned to cook three roasts for our Christmas lunch. With limited space in the oven and thinking we might have too much food, in the end I decided to cook only the two three bird roasts and leave the beef joint for another day.

So on Boxing Day, we went with the Sirloin of Beef, dry aged for 30 days.

It didn’t look anything like the picture on the box, but it was probably the best piece of beef I have cooked and eaten.

Time for some breakfast

So there I was at an event in London and needing to book a hotel for the night. Going through the booking system we use at work, there was a cheap hotel almost next door to the venue, well that made a lot of sense, so I booked it.

Well it was a very tired hotel, it was dated and in the end quite noisy as well. I did though have breakfast included.

The breakfast was limited in choice, but it wasn’t half bad.

breakfast

Well the coffee was plain awful, I wish I had tea, those knowing me, will realise that’s saying something. It should be said I rarely find outstanding coffee when I have breakfast in a hotel, but this was on another level entirely.

The breakfast itself was all hot (and you can’t always say that about the breakfast buffet at some hotels), the eggs were cooked perfectly to my liking, I liked the tomato and the sausages. I wasn’t too enamoured with the bacon, but it was okay. As for beans, I don’t really like beans, so won’t comment on that.

I enjoyed the toast and there was a good choice of jams.

Overall the hotel was somewhere I wouldn’t want to stay again. The breakfast though, wasn’t too bad for a hotel breakfast.

Gluten Free Puffy Pancakes

pancakes

This is a quick and simple method to make puffy pancakes. There are various names for these kinds of pancake.

I take a cup of self-raising gluten free flour, a cup of milk, one egg, a large spoon of sugar and some vanilla essence. For flat pancakes, I would normally use plain flour.

Whisk the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter.

I have a specialist small pancake pan which I can use for cooking these. I brush the pan with some sunflower oil and pour Not too much) of the batter into the pan.

You have to take care to ensure that the pancakes cook all the way through, but isn’t overdone (or even burnt) on the surface. I do find turning them can be quite messy, so be careful.

Serve with maple syrup.

Gluten Free Chocolate Loaf Cake

Gluten Free Chocolate Loaf Cake

This is a tasty rich chocolate loaf cake.

The recipe is based on the weight of two eggs

Ingredients

3 standard eggs
Take the same weight of two of the eggs of soft butter.
Take the same weight of two of the eggs in caster sugar
Take the same weight of two of the eggs in self-raising gluten-free flour.
Two large spoons of cocoa powder.
Vanilla essence.

Cream the sugar and butter until you have a smooth consistency.

Beat the eggs, add some vanilla essence.

Stir the eggs into the creamed butter and sugar with some of the flour and the cocoa, until the mixture is smooth and consistent.

Then fold in the remaining flour until it is combined with the rest of the mixture.

Spoon into a loaf tin and bake in a 180º normal oven or 160º fan oven for 35 minutes or until a metal skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Cool and then serve in slices.

Time for some seafood

Staying overnight in Cambridge, well over in Madingley, which is just outside the city. I was wondering where I could get something to eat. In Madingley there is a really nice looking gastropub, but was out of my budget, so I looked into the heart of Cambridge. Yes the Midsummer House was a possibility, if I had loads of spare money and no budget, but I didn’t, so no that wasn’t a possibility…

I had downloaded a Zizzi voucher, quick and easy I thought. Checking where it was, I saw on the map the Loch Fyne. I have been curious about the place for a while now, there are branches in Bath and Bristol, but I have never been, mainly as it was usually quite pricey from memory. I thought I would look at the menu and see what I could be missing. Accessing the website I saw that they had a January offer, 50% off mains. Looking over the menu, I saw lots of things I liked the look of, so that was the place.

The restaurant is on Trumpington Street quite close to the impressive Fitzwilliam Museum. It’s an older building and inside there are lots of wooden beams and low ceilings.

I initially thought, well it’s January, cold and a Tuesday, it wouldn’t be very busy, boy was I wrong. The place was packed. I was left waiting for a while, and then asked to sit in the foyer style area, until a table was free. I waited some more. At this point I nearly left.

In the end I went with Loch Fyne Seafood Mixed Grill. The dish as described consists of Scottish salmon, Scottish king scallop, golden shell Hebridean mussels, squid, sea bass fillet, samphire, wilted spinach, lobster butter, and a side of sautéed new potatoes.

I knew the place was busy, so didn’t worry too much about the speed of service, but in the end it was quite quick. The plate looked delicious. There was a huge prawn in the dish, which was nice, as that wasn’t on the dish description.

As I tried the salmon, I realised that the king scallop was missing. Considering how busy it was, I didn’t think I would be able to get the attention of the waiting staff, but I was lucky. He was very apologetic and took the dish and returned shortly with the added scallop, well two scallops.

The dish was well cooked, I enjoyed the salmon and the bass as well as the scallops. The squid was nice, as were the mussels. I couldn’t really taste the lobster butter, but there was a richness there I enjoyed. It comes with a side of sautéed potatoes, which were smooth, buttery and rather tasty.

I was surprised by how busy the place was, but I did quite like the environment. The service wasn’t perfect, but I put that down to the number of people in the place.

Tasty Bao Buns

I quite like Bao Buns. I don’t actually recall when I had my first Bao Bun, a filled steam bun, but I think it was from the SheSellsSushi stall at one of the Bristol Street Food markets. I’ve had some really nice ones, and some which were rather disappointing.

Having enjoyed the buns from Master Bao the last time I was there, and needing lunch I decided to visit Master Bao again. As this is a shopping centre, there are a range of outlets all with a common eating area. You order at the counter, take a electronic gizmo and when it buzzes you collect your food. Not the best way I think of having a nice lunch, a bit too fast food for me, but it works. I ordered the lunch deal of two bao buns and a side dish

I had this before, but did enjoy it, the Shiitake Mushroom Bao – teriyaki shiitake mushrooms, pickled onions and miso.

Shiitake Mushroom Bao - teriyaki shiitake mushrooms, pickled onions and miso

This was mushrooms cooked in a teriyaki sauce and served in a hot fluffy bao. The bun was warm and fluffy, and the mushrooms very tasty. It was a bit messy to eat, but I got there in the end.

My second Bao was the Mr Bao – slow braised pork with house pickles, roasted peanut and coriander.

Mr Bao - slow braised pork with house pickles, roasted peanut and coriander

The pork was very tender, and the peanut added a nice crunchy texture to the Bao. I would have liked a little more coriander, but otherwise it was delicious.

Both Bao buns were soft and fluffy and full of tasty fillings.

I had enjoyed the pork dumplings last time, but this time I went with the fried chicken.

fried chicken

This was not as good as I thought it could be, but the chicken was nice and crispy with a tasty sauce.

Overall I really did enjoy the meal,