Archives for posts with tag: pancakes

I haven’t posted much on here in the last week or so but that’s not to say I haven’t been a busy little bee. First, I forgot to mention a while back that I’ve created a handy new recipe index page which can be accessed through the menu at the top. I didn’t do one to start with because it seemed a bit silly when I only had three recipes on here but the next time I thought about it, I realised that the site had become a bit unwieldy. Hope you find it useful. I’ve categorised it according to type of dish and have also included a section of links to my guest posts over at LiveGlutenFree.

And, speaking of which, I forgot to tell you that I’ve also posted a couple of recipes over there:

Gluten-free cheese and walnut scones

Gluten-free stuffed tomato and herb potato breads

I’ve also created a Links page to the websites and blogs that I follow and find useful. I shall talk more about them in the next couple of weeks as I reach my first bloggiversary and reflect on what I’ve learned and the people I’ve (virtually) met! And also I’ve been sucked into Pinterest…who knew that I had even more spare hours in the day to get sucked into that black hole otherwise known as social media! 🙂 Anyway, I’ve started a couple of boards: one called ‘inspirational food photography’, where I’ve pinned some photos that make me go ‘wow!’ and make me feel not a little jealous of the photographer’s ability and kit; and another called ‘glutilicious’ where I’ve pinned some recipes that contain gluten but that no-one’s going to stop me eating so I’ve suggested how I might make them non-toxic. There’s not much on there at the moment but I’m going to gradually add to them.

But on to the most exciting news… I’ve talked on and off and in passing about my attempts to create a gluten-free croissant. I don’t do it very often because, even when you’ve got gluten on your side, it’s a bit of a faff. But I felt like trying again this weekend and I kind of made it up as I went along. I was extremely pleased and not a little shocked at the results. Here they are:

They’re not quite there yet but I have a feeling that it was more to do with the bake, rather than a gluten-free thing. I’m planning to give them another go either this weekend or next, so hopefully I’ll be able to share the recipe soon!

Anyway, that’s enough wittering on. Crespelle ripiene originate in the Campania region of Italy and are generally filled with cheese. This recipe, however, is very versatile. It can have a spinach and ricotta filling or a plain mushroom one. I added the chicken just to ring the changes but I don’t see why it couldn’t also be adapted to any cannelloni or lasagne filling. It’s also an economic recipe – I manage to make one chicken breast fillet stretch to feed four people!

Gluten-free stuffed pancakes

Serves 4

For the pancakes:
100g gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250ml milk

For the filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
250g closed cup mushrooms, very finely chopped
2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
25oml milk
150ml cooked chicken breast, very finely chopped
handful flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper

For the tomato sauce:
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 x 410g tins chopped tomatoes
1 tsp caster sugar
salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan and fresh, finely chopped flatleaf parsley to serve

You will also need a 20cm frying pan for the pancakes and an ovenproof baking dish

First, make the pancake batter. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the salt and make a well in the centre. Pour in the eggs and 150ml of milk. Using a balloon whisk, gradually incorporate the flour from around the edges into eggs and milk and whisk until a smooth but bubbly mixture is formed. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes and then add the remaining 100ml of milk. Whisk well then allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Whilst the pancake batter is resting, make the pancake filling. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a low heat and add the garlic. Fry gently for a couple of minutes until the garlic is just beginning to turn golden. Add the chopped mushrooms and continue to cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring every now and again, until the mushrooms have darkened, reduced and have lost their moisture. Sprinkle the cornflour over the mushrooms and stir until the whiteness of the cornflour has disappeared (make sure any lumps of flour have been broken up with the back of the spatula). Add the milk, stir and bring up to a gentle boil. Simmer, stirring all the while, until the sauce has thickened considerably (several minutes). Take off the heat and allow to cool. When cool, stir in the chopped chicken and chopped parsley. Set aside.

Now, make the pancakes. Put a small frying pan over a medium to high heat and add a splash of oil. When the pan is smoking, add about a third of a ladleful of pancake batter. Swirl the batter around the pan until the base is covered. Cook for about 30 seconds or until small bubbles have appeared on the surface and the underside is a dappled dark golden brown. Carefully flip the pancake using a palette knife and cook the other side for about 30 seconds. Remove to a plate and cook the rest of the pancakes (eight in total), re-oiling the pan when necessary and stacking the cooked pancakes one on top of the other. Allow to cool.

Now make the tomato sauce. In a frying pan or large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a low flame. When hot, add the tins of chopped tomatoes, the sugar and some salt and pepper and allow to bubble and reduce to a thick sauce for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (my oven is fan-assisted, so adjust accordingly). Meanwhile, assemble the pancakes. Divide the pancake filling into eight (or into as many portions as you have pancakes) and put a line of filling down the centre of each pancake. Roll the pancake around the filling to enclose it. Place the pancakes side by side in the baking dish and cover with tomato sauce. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese and finely chopped flatleaf parsley.

Last time, I talked about how going gluten-free was a real emotional rollercoaster which I hadn’t been expecting. It’s also been a massive learning experience, not only about protecting myself when I attempt to eat out of the safety of my own kitchen, but also about myself as a person.

I’ve learnt that my taste in food is not quite as catholic as I originally thought. I used to love nearly everything. I could enumerate on one hand what I didn’t like…peanut butter, tripe, parsnips… I love the foods that are commonly hated… anchovies, olives, capers, Marmite, pork scratchings… I love different cuisines from all over the world and I love new flavours. In my pre-glutenfreebie days, eating in a restaurant was problematic only in that I could never decide what to have because I could have happily chomped my way through the whole menu. (Of course nowadays, I feel blessed if I have two things to choose from… )

Since going gluten-free, I’ve explored alternative carbohydrate sources, such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat groats, chickpea flour… and, guess what? I hate them all (quinoa to a lesser extent, but still). I’ve made tabbouli with both quinoa and millet, a farinata with chickpea flour and a pilaf with buckwheat. I’d had high hopes for buckwheat as I love it when mixed with other flours in crêpes and blinis but I couldn’t wait for the meal to be over. Unusual for me.

My palate for carbohydrates seems to be fixed to those that I’ve grown up with: wheat, rice, potatoes and, to a lesser extent, corn. I can only think that this is because the carbohydrate part of the meal is the neutral foil to the rest of the meal which is where all the action, flavourwise, is. These carbohydrates clearly do have their own flavour but I am accustomed to them. The flavour of these new ones are strong to my palate and I find them intrusive and cloying. It never fails to amuse me that the packaging always proclaims their flavour to be ‘nutty’. I love nuts (apart from peanuts) but I’ve come to learn that this is used in much the same way that ‘like chicken’ is probably used to describe all manner of meats, such as rabbit, frog, snake, squirrel, alligator…, i.e. the closest thing but actually nothing like it (I may be generalising wildly here – my only authority is that rabbit tastes nothing like chicken to me…!)

So, that’s my rather lengthy analysis of why I don’t seem to like these new grains. Or maybe I am just picky after all…

Gluten-free breakfast blinis with smoked salmon, poached eggs and rocket (arugula)

Ideally, you need three large frying pans or sauté pans for this so that everything can be cooked at the same time. If you only have two, I would suggest making the blinis first and keeping them warm while the eggs are poaching. I wouldn’t suggest poaching the eggs first in case they overcook. I always use Delia’s method for poaching eggs. It’s completely foolproof and results in perfect poached eggs every time. It also allows you ten minutes to get on with other stuff instead of fussing over them, worrying that they’re overcooking, but it’s imperative you use a timer.

Serves 3

For the blinis:
70g buckwheat flour
70g gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
½ tsp fast-action dried yeast
½ tsp gluten-free baking powder
½ tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp caster sugar
215ml milk
5g butter
1 egg, separated
butter or butter substitute for shallow frying

To serve:
6 slices smoked salmon
6 eggs
a few handfuls rocket (arugula)

You will also need at least 2 large frying pans or 1 large frying pan and 1 large sauté pan and a timer.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. In a microwaveable jug, microwave the milk and butter for about 30 seconds or so, until the milk is warm and the butter has melted. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Put the egg yolk in the well and cover over with a little of the flour to protect it from the warm milk. Pour the milk and melted butter mixture in the well and, using a balloon whisk, draw the dry ingredients into the wet with circular motions, until you have a thick, smooth batter. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white with an electric hand whisk until it reaches the stiff peak stage.

Pour a kettleful of boiling water into a large sauté pan. When the water has just come back up to the boil, add the eggs, one at a time. Simmer the eggs for one minute exactly. As soon as the minute is up, turn the heat off and allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for exactly ten minutes. Drain each egg on a slotted spoon over a wad of kitchen roll before putting on a warm plate.

As soon as the eggs have started their ten-minute poach, carefully fold the whisked egg white into the blini batter. In a large frying pan, melt a few knobs of butter or butter substitute over a low heat. When the butter is foaming, add a third of the batter and shape with a spoon or palette knife into a pancake that is about 10cm in diameter and 2cm in depth. Repeat with the remaining two-thirds of the batter so that you have 3 blinis. Cook each blini for 3-4 minutes on both sides, until they are golden and crisp on the outside and they feel firm when gently pressed.

Remove from the pan and top with two slices of smoked salmon each, two poached eggs and garnish with the rocket (arugula).


I’m not much of a one for buying gratuitous amounts of value-added food products. You’re obviously paying a premium for the time and hassle spent by someone else pimping the raw product into the finished article so that you don’t have to. Clearly there are things that I have neither the equipment, nor the skills, nor the patience nor, indeed, the desire to make for myself and I include in this category most dairy products (I wouldn’t know the first thing about making cheese!) and most beverages (our kitchen isn’t big enough for vats of fermenting beer).  If I feel that I can add the value myself, then I’d much rather because my time is free and the resulting product is often much better in terms of flavour, quality and nutrition. Most of our meals are made from scratch these days (luckily for me, most convenience foods are jam-packed full of gluten so I am forced to eat much more healthily) and I object to paying through the nose for things that I can easily do myself, such as shelled nuts, skinned and deboned fish, jointed chicken, washed salad…the list goes on.  It’s not all about money, though, for me – most of all, I love doing it, especially if there’s a challenge involved. I think I must have inherited this predilection from my father: as I write this, I remember one Christmas when, rather than going down to the supermarket to buy a bottle of Malibu, he spent the best part of Christmas Morning trying to create a homemade version using vodka, coconut milk and coffee filter papers!!!

So, I’ve just been raving about adding value myself to products and taking on a challenge, but now I’m going to post a recipe that uses a shortcut, that I’ve no doubt paid extra pennies for. I love banoffee pie but I haven’t eaten it in years. I obviously can’t eat it when I go out because the pastry case will be glutenasty and I haven’t eaten it at home because the idea of leaving a can of Fussell’s boiling on the stove for about four hours and the dread of it spitting its lava-like contents all over me, as I ineptly hack my way into it with a tin-opener, fill me with horror. The first time I tried an Alpro soya caramel dessert, the taste reminded me straightaway of banoffee pie and I immediately thought that using this would be the easiest way to make one without the faff outlined above. I tried it for the first time last night as a twist on the traditional pancake (lemon and sugar are so dull!). Yum! You could also easily make a traditional banoffee pie by just substituting the pancakes for a gluten-free shortcrust pastry case.

Gluten-free easy boozy banoffee pancakes

These pancakes are traditional British ‘Pancake Day’ pancakes – they’re thin and pliable and ideal for folding around and wrapping fillings, either sweet or savoury.

Serves 4

75g gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
2 eggs
250ml milk
1tbsp vegetable oil
375ml Alpro soya caramel dessert (3 individual tubs)
30ml rum (optional)
4 medium-sized bananas
2 handfuls flaked almonds, toasted
whipped cream, to serve

You will also need a large (25cm), non-stick frying pan (skillet)

First, make the pancake batter. You can either do this in a food processor or by hand. If using a food processor, whiz the eggs, flour, milk and vegetable oil together until completely smooth. If doing by hand, place the flour in a medium-sized bowl. Using a whisk, break up any lumps in the flour. In a separate bowl or jug, lightly whisk the eggs, milk and oil together. Pour the liquids slowly into the centre of the flour, whisking as you do so, bringing the flour in gradually to the middle. This should ensure that there are no lumps. (You can leave the batter to rest for about an hour but if I’m pushed for time, I don’t usually bother and I never seem to notice much difference).

Lightly grease a large (25cm), non-stick frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, pour about 100ml of the pancake batter into the pan (I use a soup ladle) and swirl and tilt the pan until the bottom is thinly covered. After about 1-2 minutes, loosen the edges of the pancake all around with a palette knife or fish slice and peek at the bottom. When the pancake is a nice golden brown, flip it over and cook the other side. The pancake is ready when you can see dark brown blisters on the underneath. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, separating each pancake with a sheet of baking parchment.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the caramel dessert with the rum and slice the bananas into 5mm rounds (if you want to be cheffy, you can do them on the slant!). Place each pancake on an individual serving plate. Spread a quarter of the caramel mixture over each pancake. Mentally divide the pancake into quarters and pile 1 banana’s worth of sliced banana on one of the quarters. Fold the pancake over to make a half-circle and then again to make a quarter-circle. Spoon over whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted, flaked almonds.

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