I’d heard great things about LEON restaraunts and their super gluten free offerings. So was delighted to discover that they had opened a branch at Cheshire Oaks (one of my favourite places to shop!). And on Wednesday, after a spot of Christmas shopping with my fabulous buddy Carol, we called in for our tea.
I finally got chance to pop into Off The Wheaten Track for a bite to eat the other Friday – it’s something that had been on my wish list ever since it had opened earlier this year! And, I cannot tell you how giddy I’d gotten myself in anticipation of my visit to this !00% gluten free deli and cheese specialist, situated in the lovely town centre of Altrincham, not too far away from where I live.
I have always loved cauliflower cheese, it used to be my ‘Saturday lunch’ of choice when I was a teenager, and very often when I came home from doing my weekend job in our local village shop, my mum would have rustled up a cauliflower cheese beauty ready for me to enjoy! It’s making me smile as I tell you about this lunch, as all those years ago, it wasn’t the done thing to cut up the cauliflower prior to cooking, so I usually had a whole cauliflower to tuck into!! What’s really great about the way my mum used to make it, was, despite the traditional way of making a cheese sauce is to make a roux, she would instead make it by simply thickening the milk with cornflour. So, despite not needing a gluten free diet at that point in my life, the cauliflower cheese in fact, was naturally gluten free and tasted tremendous!
As with many of the recipes I share with you, it’s not always my first intention to do so, but instead, the fact that I’ve just fancied rustling up something particular for myself to eat, and when it turns out great, I get all giddy and think, Oooh, must tell you about it too! And that’s exactly what happened last weekend, when I whipped up some gluten free creamed mushrooms on toast for my lunch!
I do love to cook gammon/ham at home – I just think there is something very satisfying about the process, and if not being eaten straight away, it’s nice to have it in the fridge to cut at for butties, salads, or to enjoy with egg and chips etc! It’s also far more cost effective than buying ready cooked meat. I tend to keep the ham for up to 3 days in the fridge but if I’m not going to use it within this time, I just slice the meat (or cube it as it’s great to go in fried rice dishes), wrap in foil, then in a freezer bag and pop into the freezer to use at a later date.
Proudly introducing my ‘magic mallow crispy cakes’…. a truly magnificent indulgent gluten free treat for kids of all ages! The idea for these rather jolly – if not crazy – looking chocolate crispy cakes came from something my mum would make for our birthday parties and family celebrations when we were younger.
The idea for these gluten free crispy cheese and onion potato bakes materialised from making basic potato cakes (which are simply, cold seasoned mashed potato, with a little added gluten free flour/mix, the mixture is then moulded into patties and pan fried…preferably in butter!). So yes, I popped these bakes together the other day and they were so good, that I needed to let you know about them too!
Another recipe that I have been wanting to share with you for ages, is a gluten free Swiss roll. It’s one of those recipes that might seem a bit fiddly, but it really isn’t. The sponge itself only requires 3 ingredients and you can then fill the fluffy and ever so light Swiss roll with jam, lemon curd, whipped cream, buttercream – in fact whatever takes your fancy. This is simply the basic recipe for you to adapt and transform into whatever grabs you!
I first learnt how to make lemon curd in a home economics class at school (a long time ago – although it really doesn’t feel like it). Much to my delight, when I took it home, it was a huge hit with my mum and grandparents. For a little while after that my family were slightly bombarded with jars of lemon curd…..I heard no complaints though!
As a cook, sometimes I feel a bit guilty when I buy ready-made shop bought things. But when I’m short of preparation time, I’m really glad there are great convenience products on hand that can help me out just when I need it!
This Lees meringue pavlova that I picked up from Aldi the other day is a perfect example of a smashing ready-made treat to have stashed away in the cupboard ready to be transformed into something quite magnificent when time is not on your side. It’s **naturally gluten free and is made simply with pasteurised egg white and sugar…. yes, that’s it! What you then top it with is entirely up to you!