Pie is my favourite number…
Over my years as a London based foodie, I have developed an addiction to pies, crumbles, cobblers and anything with a crust outside and stewed fruit inside… The simple mention of this sends a tremor along my spine: Fruit and crust, a very sexy combination indeed. I still do love tarts and tartines, but I think I slightly favour a crust ON TOP rather than UNDER.
Each season offers its own enticing variations and Autumn is a season for : rhubarb, sharp apples and black currants. All three are quite acidic so in this version, I have put a little more sugar than usual to counter balance the tartness of the fruit but you can make it less sweet if you wish.
- 1 stalk of rhubarb
- Bramley or other cooking apples, 2
- Handful of frozen blackcurrant
- Cornflour, 1 Tbsp
- For the Gluten Free crust:
- Ground almond, 100g
- Chesnut flour or rice flour, 50g
- Butter, 100g
- sugar, 100g
Cut up all the fruit, mix it with the frozen berries and the cornflour – the object of the cornflour is to soak up the juice of the rhubarb to avoid a very wet pie!
Mix the flour, sugar and butter with the tip of your fingers until you have a sand-like texture. Lay the fruit in a pie dish or gratin dish. I have used frozen blackcurrants here, but you can opt for blackberries instead. They have a more subtle flavour but work deliciously toward a very British taste.
Top the fruit with the flour mix, trying to cover all of the fruit but do not worry if the lumps do not hide it perfectly. Just try and shake your sandy mix everywhere.
Put in a hot oven for 45min at 180º C.
Eat warm with some clotted cream or yogurt. If you are in France, it goes also well with a nice Faisselle or full fat fromage frais. This is the ultimate in homely, comforting puddings and with this GF version you won’t be leaving anybody out!
A patchy cover is not a problem…
I know this is not barbecue weather and I am not suggesting you set one up in the rain! On the contrary this is fake barbecue food so perfect when you want to “pretend” and enjoy the taste of a barbecue without the hassle or indeed the health risk of charcoal meat… The Tamari sauce and Chipotle chilli give the meat a lovely, smoky taste and appearance but no burning needed.
Chipotle is a fiery and delicate chilli from Mexico and here I have paired it with Cajun spices, bought on a market in Martinique.
Crispy and blackened by the spices
- One or two pork ribs rack
- Tamari sauce 100ml
- Olive oil 50ml
- Cajun spice 1 Tbsp
- Chipotle chilli powder, 1tsp
- Treacle, 1 Tbsp
Get trimmed pork ribs in preference, with just enough fat to sizzle.
Put all the ingredients and spices into a bowl and mix well. You might need to heat the treacle so it blends with the other ingredients.
Put the marinade over the meat, massage it in with your fingers and leave in the fridge for ½ hour if you can.
Put the racks into your roasting oven on the roast setting and leave it to cook for 2 hours max at just over 160 degrees. It needs to slow roast so the meat is melting and literally falling off the racks.
Serve this to share with your fingers and add a green salad on the side.
The spices, the Tamari and treacle, all give it the distinctive charcoal colour and a great taste. All done in the oven and no outdoor BBQ to clean afterwards!
It is also quicker to make than most spare ribs recipes I know and it tastes just right.
The name of these gluten-free flapjacks is the result of a bit of banter between my 22 year old nephew and I about finding the right acronym for his condition ! Being gluten-free is undoubtedly a constraint and sometime can be felt as a bit of a stigma, but it is not as complicated to cater for as I first thought and because our nephew is staying with us in London at the time of this writing, I have had to extend my repertoire of coeliac-friendly recipes and this is one of the first that I tweaked for him. So here is the harbinger probably of a series of gluten-free meals that I will try and share with you.
Whether you are intolerant or not – and the figures here differ from 10 per cent to may be 40 per cent of the population!-, eating a diet lighter in gluten is possibly not a bad habit. It seems to me that we are generally having far too much of it and from food not necessarily associated with wheat! Did you know Malt vinegar, most soy sauces and many industrial products including sausages contain gluten?!
Crunchy with a tender heart
- Butter, 100g
- Rapeseed oil, 2 tbsp
- Treacle, 1 tbsp
- Porridge oats, 200g (choose Nairn’s GF variety)
- Agave syrup, 2 tbsp
- Muscovado sugar, 50g
- Xantham gum, 2 Tbsp
- Mix of sunflower, pumpkin, linseeds, sesame and raisins, 120g
Melt the butter and oil in a medium pan.
Put all the dry ingredients together
in a big bowl, then pour the melted butter and mix while adding the
agave syrup and the treacle.
Spread into an oiled tray so that you get
a depth of about 1 cm. Put in a hot oven at 180° for about 20min. The edges
must look brown and crispy before you take it out. Let it cool down
then cut big squares with the tip of a knife. The GF version is more brittle than the original but the magic of the Xantham gum helps in binding it together quite satisfactorily.
Oats are very good at lowering your cholesterol . The agave syrup is a health option because its low glycemic load means that your glucose levels won’t shoot up too quickly, so no hunger pangs straight after and more long term energy.
Coeliac is a very serious and precisely diagnosed, defined, medical condition and unless you suffer from it there is no reason to go gluten-free, but may be going gluten-light carries it own health benefits. If you are interested in this stream, I am sure more “Great Fun” recipes will be coming your way and I hope you enjoy the change and maybe experience some health benefits yourself.