Tag Archives: Gluten Free

Ravioli Ignudi (Naked Ravioli)

These delicate little pillows of ricotta and Swiss chard / silverbeet were given their wonderful name because they are not blanketed in fresh pasta like the ravioli that we all know and love.  This dish is fast becoming a favourite in our home – it is delicious, surprisingly simple to make, very economical and has very few ingredients.  I love making it because it means I get to make use of produce from our vegie patch.  It is so rewarding to take your basket and fill it with the ingredients needed to prepare your next meal…

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Ravioli Ignudi (Naked Ravioli)

Ingredients

  • 300 g ricotta
  • 400 g Swiss chard, leaves only
  • 1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 16 whole fresh sage leaves
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Bring a large saucepan filled with salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the Swiss chard and boil until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain thoroughly, wrap in a cloth and squeeze until the chard is very dry. Chop very finely.
  4. Gradually combine the Swiss chard with the ricotta. Add about two-thirds of the Parmesan, the nutmeg and egg yolks. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Scoop up a small quantity of the mixture with a spoon and, with well-floured hands, form it into a little oval pillow about 3cm long.
  6. Dredge the little pillow lightly with some of the flour and set aside.
  7. Continue forming little oval pillows with the remaining ricotta mixture.
  8. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.
  9. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the sage leaves in a frying pan and keep warm.
  10. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add the ravioli, a few at a time, and cook until they rise to the surface (as you would for gnocchi).
  11. Remove the ravioli with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place them into the warm melted butter and sage.
  12. Continue cooking the remaining ravioli in the same manner.
  13. Arrange the ravioli in a serving dish and drizzle with the melted butter and sage. Dust with the remaining Parmesan and grind over a little black pepper.

Notes:

  • I like to bake some tomatoes and add them together with a few shards of crispy prosciutto to the plate when serving, just for colour, flavour and texture.
  • We also like to crisp some of the Ignudi up a little in the butter.
  • While I have used my Gluten Free Flour Blend, this recipe was originally made with normal wheat plain flour, so either can be used, depending on dietary requirements.
  • Adapted from a lovely old book, Tuscany – The Beautiful Cookbook (1996) L De Medici, p78.
  • I make my own soft ricotta style cheese.

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Chard, Onion and Cheese Gratin

I have read many recipes for Swiss Chard or Silverbeet gratin, where the prominent ingredient is the stalk, rather than the rich green leaves.  I recently stumbled upon this recipe that I thought I would try, because it includes some of the leaves as well.  I was so thrilled with the end result, I cooked it again a couple of days later.

This gratin really is very easy to make, and the end result is a delicious cheesy gratin with the stalks providing texture, the leaves, colour, and both contributing to the wonderful flavour.

Chard, Onion and Cheese Gratin

The stalks of Swiss Chard make a gratin that is delicious and delicate in flavour, and pairs beautifully with a roast. Equally it can be served as a light meal with a fresh green salad on the side.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • Stalks from a large bunch of chard, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced.
  • 4 chard leaves, thinly shredded
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 150 ml full-cream milk
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • 30 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil and half the butter.
  3. Add the onion and chard stalks, place the lid on and cook over low heat for 5-10 minutes, until the onion softens.
  4. Stir in the flour, and cook for a 1 minute over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the milk. Bring to the boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer until the sauce has thickened. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Stir in the chard leaves and cook for another minute or two until the leaves have wilted a little.
  6. Then stir in the Parmesan and the cream, then pour into a greased gratin dish.
  7. Mix the topping ingredients together and scatter over the top of the gratin. Dot with the remaining butter.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.

Notes:

  • This gratin can also be popped under the grill ’til golden and crispy, if short on time or oven space.
  • For a gluten free version, simply replace the flour with the same amount of gluten free flour blend.
  • Adapted from Easy Vegetarian One Pot, 2011, R Woods (ed), p159

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Chard, Onion and Cheese Gratin

Gluten Free Four Blend

Swiss Chard

Generous Gifts

I love coming up with new recipes to highlight new produce, and this weekend we received a wonderful gift of home-cured meats from a friend. Mike, Chris and Mon, our son’s future in-laws, visited from Melbourne and came bearing beautiful gifts, including beautiful flowers, some wonderful wine and Mike’s cured meats.

The flowers went straight onto the table, they were so pretty, and the meats were put to good use as the foundation of a couple of amazing anitpasto platters, one as a starter to our evening meal, the other for a light lunch on the terrace.

Meal times were wonderful chatty affairs and we spent a lot of time getting to know each other better, talking about family, funny experiences, food and gardening. Previously we only seemed to catch up at family gatherings where there was little or no time to talk and get to know each other.

On Saturday while they went visiting, I took the opportunity to race into the local farmer’s market -I wanted a little something to send home with them, and the vegie patch is really not quite up to speed at the moment. I also needed to top up our supplies of Wuk Wuk steak.

When they returned they came bearing another gift, a wonderful heritage apple tree for our garden, a Ribston Pippin – another lovely thoughtful gift. Ribston Pippin - Feature ImageI have already worked out where it is going to live and how it will be espaliered… We were so pleased to be able to give them a bag of fresh local produce – potatoes, beetroot, zucchini, corn, eggs, etc. as well as rhubarb from our garden and some Jalapeno Chili and Sprouting Broccoli seedlings. But after they left I was kicking myself, as I also wanted to give them some preserves from the store! Oh well, next time, they will be returning in March to help with some repairs to our home, and there are some cooking projects on the agenda as well.

Now… I wanted something different to cook to highlight one of Mike’s cured meats. Inspired by a recipe Endives Rôties au Roquefort, Chips de Jambon from Saveurs no 234 p59, I created Roasted Belgian Endive (Witlof) with Shadows of Blue Cheese and Mike’s Prosciutto, a recipe highlighting a luscious, creamy local blue cheese, Mike’s amazing prosciutto, and my fig vinegar. It’s a wonderful entrée with the bitterness of the endive, the crispness of the prosciutto, the creamyness of the cheese, the salt from both, and the sweetness of the fig vinegar all complementing each other.

This is a recipe that will definitely be reappearing on our table in the future.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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Apricots

I still remember the joy of fresh bread, lashings of homemade apricot jam, and the cream! Fresh cream, real cream, not the homogenised, pasturised stuff from the supermarket shelf – just fresh, runny cream, no sugar, not whipped, just pure fresh cream dribbling over the edge of the bread.- Oh the memories …

We now have two apricot trees in our garden, a Moorpark – supposedly rich in flavour making it great for fresh fruit, jam, drying, stewing and juice, and a Blenheim, said to be one of the most flavourful of apricots around! However, like all of our fruit trees, they have only been in the ground for six months, which means that we must be patient, and wait until they grow before we see a nice crop.

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We did have a tiny surprise though – just after Christmas I spotted one solitary little apricot. It had been hiding and growing out of our sight and, fortunately, out of the sight of the birds. I watched it carefully, trying to make sure that the birds did not beat us to it. Then early last week, when I checked on it, I discovered that a grub had made it’s mark – I hadn’t counted on that, so quickly whisked it off the tree, and took it to the kitchen, where it became a simple little sweet treat to finish our evening meal – A simple apricot pastry.

Given the lack of fruit from the garden at the moment, I am constantly on the watch for a good buy, and was delighted to read a little add in the local newspaper for apricots. I made a call and was able to pick up 10kg, which lead to a couple of heavy days in the kitchen! But from that 10kg, we now have 14 jars of apricot halves in a light syrup, 15 jars of Worcestershire sauce, and 10 jars of apricot jam in the store.

There were a few left over so whipped up an apricot and pine nut tart – gluten free.

You know, apricot jam is not only great as a spread, but it can also be used to flavour meat dishes too, and the apricot halves can be used to make delicious sweet treats such as clafoutis, charlottes, tarts etc, but will also used in savoury dishes, including a favourite – Spicy Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Rosemary and Ginger! As for the Worcestershire sauce, it’s always handy to lift an otherwise dull dish!

So now that the store is stocked up with apricot preserves, it is my plan to highlight some of them in recipes over the coming months.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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The Vegie Patch – Six weeks later!

It is six weeks since I announced that The Corner Patch had now become a Vegie Patch, and look at it now.

With the Christmas Festivities in full swing, I was struggling to find time to get out to work in it, but somehow managed to steal an hour here and there, and while most things have been planted much later than they should have been, they appear to almost be growing before our eyes.

All the fruit trees have now been trimmed and tied to the wires to train them for the espaliered fruit edging of the area, and, with much persistence, Duchess, for the moment, has been blocked from the area – every now and then, I’d hear a noise, or see a movement, and there she was, making her way along the edge totally oblivious to the fact that I was there! But letting her know she had been discovered and best leave, she would show me where she was entering thus giving me another job to do, in blocking her route!

Some of the plants in the patch have travelled with us, and are siblings of plants that my parents grew quite some years ago – rhubarb, strawberries and asparagus, I also continue to try and grow everything from seed. Having the plants from my parents makes the vegie patch an even more special place to be.

All of the strawberries (except the three pretty pink flowering ones) are siblings of those that my beautiful dad, who is now with the angels, gave to me many years ago, and the asparagus, my gorgeous mum nurtured to what is now a good sized patch at our old family home.

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It was so hard to leave the asparagus run up to fern – but if we want to have a bounty of this delicious treat we must be patient – hopefully next year!

 

The rhubarb, well, I think it’s from plants that we had growing when I was a child, and that is a long time ago! I still remember the bowls of rhubarb and custard our mum would put before us to finish a meal. We were very lucky…

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The rhubarb patch.

I persist with growing almost everything from seed – unfortunately I had to admit defeat on a couple of fronts, although having planted more seed, maybe should not have caved so early. But I am so excited to say, that given I had a lot of seedlings ready to go, we are already enjoying the fruits of our labour at meal time – strawberries with our breakfast; salads using various leaves, edible flowers and fresh herbs; snow peas in our stir fries, rhubarb and strawberry compote with our yoghurt; and our one solitary apricot became a little dessert to finish an evening meal this week.

They say that gardening is wonderful for your health – how true. You can exercise, relax and wind down almost simultaneously! You are providing flowers to fill your vases, food for your table and nutrition for your body! What a wonderful and giving hobby it is…

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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Links:

Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote

Sustainable Gardening Australia

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Nougat Glacé

Nougat Glace evokes memories of special times spent with beautiful friends. Some years ago, my amazing husband decided I needed to get away, so whisked me off to France for a much needed ten day break and opportunity to be with my best friend, Véronique. Below is a little piece I wrote in my diary about our arrival…

As we pull into the Auxerre station I notice Véronique and Yannick waiting for us on the
platform and wave madly, Véronique notices me and as we go to step off the train they are waiting at our carriage door. We hug and kiss each other – it is so good to be together again.

In the car we chat all the way back to their home and our luggage is quickly stowed in their little gite where we will sleep during our stay, and quickly note the log fire burning in the living area. This is heaven.

Over at the main house we sit down to lunch, the first meal of what is going to be a four day gourmet feast! Our meal starts with Yannick’s walnut wine, a delicious tipple that I have now learnt to make. As sip on the aperitif, we continue to catch up and nibble on chips and pistachios. Entrée was then served – a terrine of foie gras with brioche, all made by my wonderful friend. Next on the menu was a main of braised veal with vegetables from their garden, which was followed by a selection of local cheeses and a basket of bread.. Finally for dessert, nougat glace, a delicious homemade icecream, served with raspberry coulis. I have to add that throughout the meal, Yannick produced an incredible array of wines, carefully selected to complement each course – what a wonderful welcome!

So what is Nougat Glace?   It is a delicious creamy frozen mousse of Italian meringue and whipped cream, that has a selection of dried and/or glace fruits, and nuts carefully folded through. The nougat flavour is created by adding honey to the sugar syrup used when making the Italian meringue. Often made with praline, I prefer to make it with lightly roasted nuts, which cuts back the sweetness a little. It is generally served with a raspberry coulis and little sprigs of mint to garnish.  If you want to impress at a dinner party, this is the way to go, everything is prepared ahead, all you need to do at the last minute is melt a little dark chocolate and plate it up!

As I mentioned, this is a very sweet ice cream, so we find that the tartness of fresh raspberries and a little drizzle of good quality 70% chocolate, helps to balance the sweetness a little. Of course you must use a beautiful honey in such a special treat, and our preferred honey is macadammia honey – just delicious!

Nougat Glacé

A frozen mouse of meringue and cream with all the flavours of nougat. This delicious sweet treat is often served during the Christmas festivities in France. A perfect dessert for the summer.

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • 300 ml pure cream, very cold
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 40 g sugar
  • 40 g pistachio nuts
  • 40 g blanched hazlenuts or almonds
  • 40 g golden raisins
  • 40 g dried cranberries
  • 40 g dried blueberries

To Serve

  • 250 ml raspberry coulis
  • 50 g 70% dark chocolate, melted
  • 200 g fresh raspberries
  • sprigs of mint to garnish

Directions

  1. Beat the egg whites until stiff.
  2. Meanwhile, place the sugar and the honey in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat slightly and continue to cook until the mixture has reached 117° C.
  3. With the mixer beating slowly, pour the honey syrup in a thin stream into the egg whites, then increase the speed and continue whipping until the mixture has cooled.
  4. Whip the cream to soft peaks.
  5. Cut the raisins and into pieces.
  6. Chop/crush hazelnuts and pistachios.
  7. Line a cake mould with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
  8. Gently fold the egg whites into whipped cream, and then gently fold through the fruit and nuts.
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared mould and cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Place in the freezer for at least 12 hours, to freeze.
  11. To serve, turn out onto a flat cake plate, drizzle with a little melted dark chocolate and garnish with raspberry coulis, fresh berries and mint leaves.

Notes:

  1. If you prefer, make a praline from the nuts as folows:
    1. Line a baking tray with baking/parchment paper.
    2. Combine 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in saucepan and heat, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Increase to medium-high heat and cook without stirring until mixture turns golden caramel brown.
    3. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the nuts just to coat them in the caramel.
    4. Immediately, pour the mixture  in a thin layer onto the prepared baking tray.
    5. Allow to cool completely and harden.
    6. Break into one to two inch pieces, enclose in a clean tea towel and then crush using a rolling pin – be careful not to overdo it and turn it into a powder!
  2. To blanch hazelnuts:
    1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
    2. Roast in oven for 5-10 minutes, until the hazelnuts are aromatic, lightly roasted and the skins start to crack.
    3. Place the hazelnuts into a clean tea towel and gently rub together, to remove the skins.
    4. Spread the shelled hazelnuts, in a single layer, on a baking tray.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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Nougat Glace

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The Little Gite – a perfect little home away from home in the Burgundy countryside