Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Tasty Tray Bakes

I have a friend that is a fabulous cook and always goes out of her way to do the 'gluten free thing' for Abbey and I when we accept a dinner invitation (as if we would ever decline).
I NEVER have to worry because I know that she has a handle on food prep and a good understanding of the disease (although even 'we' are always learning).
Plus she always creates some gastronomical delight that is c'est magnifique.

A little while ago she whipped up a magical dinner for us that involved chicken, potatoes & other veg and some delicious seasoning.  It was so good that today I share with you this tasty delight because although it looks fantastic, tastes superb and appears you have laboured for hours.. (sorry Laura your secret's out) - it really is super easy and takes next to no effort at all. SHHHH.. don't tell anyone.

So it literally involves some chopping, some splooshing, some zesting, then some baking and most importantly some relaxing (whilst it's cooking). My little effort is an adaptation of the following 3 tray bakes ~
My friend Laura
A fab tray bake at grubby little faces.com  and Nigella herself at Nigella.com

Around 4 or 5 large potatoes cut into around 2cm chunks - don't be too precious (rustic = good)
Red Onion roughly quartered and separated
About 4 chicken thighs (skin on if you can get them) and about a packet of those chicken niblet pieces you use for those delicious BBQ Honey/Soy wing type dishes.. you know the ones.. mmm
(if you can rub some of the oil and salt into the chicken skin a little, it will make all the difference - trust me)
GF Italian Sausages cut into halves (I bought mine in Woolworths)
GF Pork Chipolatas (I bought mine in Woolworths) - mainly for the younger discerning diner
Zest of 2 Lemons
Throw in a handful of whole garlic cloves 
Sploosh of the good oil ~ that's Extra VIRGIN
A few sprigs of Rosemary
Some extra Rosemary finely chopped for good measure and a dash of sea salt flakes

I used 2 aluminium foil trays for this.  You can get packs of 3 or 4 from the supermarket relatively cheaply and it just means no washing up.. 
I know right? The perfect meal. 

Divide the chicken and sausages between the two trays, scatter in potatoes and onions, the zest of a lemon, add a few sprigs of Rosemary, season with a little salt & additional Rosemary, a drizzle of oil and you're in business.  I usually season with cracked pepper but I figured my youngest two (almost 3 & 6) would most certainly object to 'the  black bits' on their dinner so omitted the pepper at this point with the intention of happily peppering up at the table.  Whack her in the oven on around 200° C for an hour and Voila!  
From oven to table - dinner is served!

I kid you not. This recipe is so easy it's cra-zeee and always delicious.  Try it tonight why don't you - you'll be glad you did! 



Saturday, 10 August 2013

Vegetable Soup

On a whim I decided to make vegetable soup.  I had eyed off a soup pack in the fruit & veg section of the supermarket earlier and pondered what to do with it.  I thought about it wandering the aisles and decided to keep it simple.  Some things are best uncomplicated.  So here's what I did.

My soup pack contained about 3 large carrots of which I diced,  2 large celery stalks - roughly chop these, a parsnip  to chop & dice, a turnip to chop & dice, a large potato to dice and a large brown onion to be roughly chopped.

To start, I added the onion to a little rice bran oil together with a teaspoon each of Garlic, finely chopped Chilli and Ginger. Stir this fragrant mix until the onion becomes soft and slightly translucent. (Oh I almost forgot - I also added a very rough teaspoon of curry powder as I'm a BIG fan but that's just me).  Mmm.. the smell is amazing

Of course fresh is best, but I always have these 3 staples (Garlic, Chilli & Ginger) in my refrigerator in the form of Gourmet Garden tubes which are available in the chilled fresh produce section of the supermarket.  I particularly like these as they are fresh, convenient and best of all - no mess or waste. These 3 are also marked gluten free but of course you can find other brands in the herbs and spices aisle which are equally good and often gluten free by ingredient.  Read your labels! Read your labels!

If you haven't yet learned to read labels, you are really doing yourself a great disservice and need to get onto it. You could potentially be cheating yourself out of so much.  If you need some help - contact 
Coeliac Australia and find out about label reading workshops in your state.

Transfer your mix to a large saucepan or stove top casserole dish and add your potato, carrot, parsnip, turnip & 2 cups of cold water - bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.

Time to add stock, remaining vegetables including a whole diced red capsicum, a tin of Italian cherry tomatoes and a small tin of corn kernels and let simmer for at least 2 hours.
I use MASSEL chicken stock - which is actually all vegetable..  
MASSEL is preservative free lactose free and gluten free and was actually a stock that was recommended to me by a dietitian when I was first diagnosed.  I have happily used it ever since.  I notice it is quite popular with chefs and the like so that speaks VOLUMES.

To make your soup a bit thicker take out about half the tender vegetables and blitz them using a stick blender and then return them to the soup.  That's pretty much it.

Serve with some good quality grated Parmesan, some cracked pepper and some crusty bread - 
GLUTEN FREE of course!  

"Only the pure of heart can make good soup" Beethoven 

(source www.foodreference.com)