Beef pot pie (RPAH elim friendly)

I felt up for a challenge so I thought of trying my hand at making gluten free puff pastry. I’ve seen UK chef, James Martin, make it on TV and it does take a bit of elbow grease but technically it is not too demanding. If you are a bit impatient like me, then perhaps buying commercially available pastry may be the go but in Sydney it can set you back $9! Nevertheless I did give it a shot and it took ages but the results were still impressive despite lacking the puffiness between the layers of pastry. I followed the recipe at artofglutenfreebaking.com which is extremely detailed so I won’t be re-posting it here. However, I substituted the flour for a GF Aldi flour mix supplemented with Orgran’s Gluten Substitute. Perhaps the Australian summers are too warm but I felt that the butter kept melting too fast and half the time I was chilling it and adding tons of tapioca starch to keep it from sticking to my table. Also the lack of gluten makes it difficult to roll the pastry out without splitting it so keep an eye out on that too!

The pastry still made a good pot pie with a crunchy, crumbly top that still resembled the flaky layers of puff pastry but just didn’t rise enough. I popped the rest of the unused pastry in the freezer for another time. So what follows is my recipe for a beef pot pie.

beefpotpie

Beef pot pie

Gluten free, egg free, soy free, nut free, failsafe

Ingredients:

  • 300g (ish) good quality beef, diced (I used cut up eye fillet)
  • 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped (moderate salicylates)
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 leek, halved and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 heaped teaspoons cornflour
  • Some water

Method:

  1. In a pan fry the beef on high heat with a little oil to seal all the sides but don’t worry about cooking it all the way through. This is to keep the juices in as you will still need to bake it later. If you can tolerate it, brown it on all sides otherwise do as little browning as possible while attempting to seal in the juices. Once done place on a plate and set aside.
  2. On medium heat, fry off the garlic and leek till the leek goes translucent and everything becomes aromatic. Then add in the carrots and celery and sautee till carrots are tender.
  3. Once tender turn the heat to low and add the beef and any juices that leaked out on the plate back in with the vegetables. Add the cornflour and mix well, try to ensure there are no big clumps of cornflour.
  4. Add a splash of water and allow it to thicken to form a gravy. You may need to adjust thickness to your liking by adding more cornflour to thicken or more water to thin it. Season well with salt.
  5. Transfer everything into an ovenproof dish and then roll out your pastry and cover the top of the dish and trim off the excess pastry. Feel free to do nice pastry decorations here too! Brush some melted butter on top of the pastry to help golden it. Poke some steam holes in the top and bake at 180ºC till the pastry is golden and is crispy (about 30-45 minutes for my oven because it is a terrible oven).
  6. Serve with some steam green beans and roasted potatoes.
  • Find the best quality beef and a cut that is normally very tender as you are cooking it for a while. Ask your butcher as they will know which would be the best. It isn’t always the most expensive cut!
  • You can always substitute in other vegetables and meat to your taste preference! Take out the carrots if you can’t tolerate salicylates and try swedes instead.
  • Wrap unused pastry (not rolled out yet) in cling film and store it in the freezer till you want to use it next.
  • I used butter but I think it could also be done with Nuttelex if you need to be dairy free.

Enjoy!

Sweet Grilled Chicken (RPAH elim friendly)

 

I have to first start off by apologising for having such a long and unannounced hiatus. It’s been a crazy couple of months with trying to finish my PhD and starting a new part-time job. Nevertheless I have a backlog of experimental recipes to write about. Also in the last few months I have been on medication to help my skin which means I am able to eat more freely so the shift of the recipes will away from the strict elimination diet but as always will be modifiable.

This chicken sauce is a mixture of the stock standard sauces that probably will be in your fridge by now. We grill a lot of our chicken which means less cleaning up and you don’t have to stand there watching it. Also, we use thigh fillets as we find that the meat doesn’t dry out as much as chicken breast normally will.

grilledchicken

Sweet grilled chicken

Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, failsafe

Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces of thigh fillets
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of pear ketchup
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of no tomato sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons of magic sauce (get that recipe here)
  • 1 small clove of finely chopped garlic (optional but highly recommended)

Method:

  1. Mix all the sauces and garlic in a bowl with the chicken. Leave to marinate at least an hour for maximum tastyness. If you don’t marinate also no big deal.
  2. Line a tray with aluminium foil with the edges folded up to stop juice flowing everywhere.
  3. Place chicken on the tray, not touching each other and grill under high heat for 10-15 mins or until as browned as you can tolerate.
  4. Flip over and cook the other side for about 10 mins or until it is cooked and brown enough for your liking. The more browned the more amines so just watch out for that.
  5. Serve with some rice or potatoes and some veggies that you tolerate. Also don’t forget to use the sauce/juice mixture!

Enjoy!

Bolognaise (RPAH elim friendly)

The first time I made this bolognese sauce I was ecstatic with the result. It tasted super similar to one made with tomato sauce. My boyfriend was coming to visit so I made a batch and when he rang the door bell I literally ran to him telling him about the sauce. This version isn’t as wet and saucy as using tomato paste but it does balance the tartness and sweetness that tomatoes would normally bring. I normally use beef mince for this and throw in some coarsely chopped veggies that I have on hand. In this case I popped a can of lentils and some cabbage as well.

Bolognaise

Failsafe Bolognese

Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, failsafe, egg free

Ingredients:

  • 250g beef mince
  • 2 inches of a leek, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of the failsafe “tomato” sauce (more if you feel you need it)
  • A dash of water
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil
  • Sprinkle of parsley for garnish

Method:

  1. Heat up a pan with canola oil and fry off the chopped leek and garlic till the leeks soften and becomes nice and fragrant.
  2. Pop in the meat and fry it and break it up as you go along.
  3. Once the meat is cooked add the tomato sauce (it’s just an approximation so go heavy if you like, or do less if you prefer!) and a dash of water if you think it is too thick and dry.
  4. Serve on some gluten free pasta with a sprinkle of chopped parsley to garnish. I like the Orgran Rice Spirals as they are only made with rice and water.

If you would like to add veggies you can pop them in at the beginning with the leek and garlic if it takes a while to cook (things like cabbage). If they are very quickly cooked, and just need a warm through, like canned lentils, then pop them in around the time when you add the tomato sauce.

Enjoy!

No tomato paste (RPAH elim friendly)

When I first tried this sauce I put it in spaghetti bolognese it was amazing. The first thing I did was tell my boyfriend that it tasted almost like the real thing! I was jumping around the house because finally I had a flavour explosion in my mouth after months of blandness. I honestly was not going to stop there! I also used it to make a sort of chicken cacciatore when I did my salicylate challenge and regularly use it to make a baked bean substitute and to flavour meats. The original recipe is from Cooking For Oscar here.

Pasta sauce

No-Tomato paste

Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, nut free, vegan, failsafe

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of red kidney beans (rinsed)
  • 2 pear halves in syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large stick of celery (chopped)
  • 1 cup of spring onions (chopped)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • A pinch of saffron

Method:

  1. Chop everything up and place it all in a saucepan.
  2. Place it on medium-low heat and simmer for around 30 minutes till everything is soft. Make sure the sauce is reduced and is not too watery.
  3. Take it off the heat and let it cool down before you blend it in a food processor. Alternatively, you can put a stick blender in the pot and blend it that way. I find that the stick blender makes a smoother paste (as you can see mine is chunky because I used a cheap food processor) and its less washing up.
  4. Return to the heat to reduce more if you like a thicker paste. It’s better to reduce it before this step as if it is a bit thick already it will spit and can go all over your cook top. Otherwise if you are happy with the consistency then pop it into a container and keep in the fridge. You can also keep it in the freezer if you make in bulk.

Uses:

  • Use a 2-3 tablespoons of this sauce with 2-3 teaspoons of pear ketchup and cook with a can of white beans to make baked beans.
  • Cook with minced meat to make a bolognese sauce.
  • Marinate your meats with this sauce and grill or pan fry.

Too easy!!

Chicken nuggets (RPAH elim friendly)

These chicken nuggets/tenders are seriously the bomb! They turn out super crispy, really easy to make and totally fine to have on the RPAH elimination diet. What more could you want? This recipe is super versatile. You can use any part of the chicken, we used breast and thighs but I think I prefer the thighs as they don’t get as dry. Really, you could crumb just about any meat (or even tofu) this way!

Chicken nuggets

Chicken nuggets

Gluten free, dairy free, nut free, soy free, failsafe
Can be made egg free

Ingredients

  • Chicken cut up into small pieces
  • Rice crumbs (I use the Aldi brand)
  • 1 egg (For egg free alternative you need cornflour)
  • Salt
  • Canola oil (or another allowed oil)

Method

  1. In a bowl lightly beat an egg.
  2. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg before dipping it in a bowl of rice crumbs. The egg is just a binding agent to get the crumbs to stick. Lightly press to make sure crumbs stick.
  3. Repeat for all the chicken.
  4. Heat up a pan with oil at medium heat. You know when it is hot enough when you place a piece of chicken in and it bubbles around it. If it doesn’t wait till it heats more.
  5. You can either shallow fry and turn pieces or add more oil and deep fry. Fry till they are golden brown. If your nuggets are big just make sure that they are cooked in the middle.
  6. Dry the chicken on kitchen paper towel till cool enough to eat.
  7. Serve with pear ketchup or mayo!

Egg free alternative:

Instead of dipping in egg use cornflour as the binding agent. We place a little cornflour with the chicken and mix around with a small amount of water to make a thick paste batter. You don’t need a lot of batter, just enough to lightly coat it. It should feel sticky. You may find you need more cornflour than you think but that is ok, it just needs to be thick or it will come off when you coat in the rice crumbs.

Reheating:

You can always make a large batch and reheat. They don’t taste as good as fresh but you can either quickly re-fry again to get the crispyness but it will be oilier. Alternatively you can try bake them or for a quicker alternative just pop them in the grill.

Jambo Jambo – Crows Nest

Jambo Jambo is a small restaurant nestled in St Leonards, on the Sydney’s North Shore. I have never had African food before so when a Groupon voucher cropped up I thought it was the best time to try it out. After a tiny misunderstanding regarding the booking my friend and I were seated and ready to start this three course meal! The restaurant is pretty small with only a few tables but it is filled with photos, paintings, drums and masks which give it a very eclectic and somewhat homey feel.

First to come out was the entree plate to share. I am pretty sure it was the owner who was serving us, and he explained what everything was. There was chapati, a flat, pan fried bread similar to roti that we were meant to dip in a honey sauce.

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The entree plate

Next we tried something that resembled the Chinese “sang choy bow”. Wrapped inside lettuce is some raw beef (well I think it was beef…) which had a little bit of spices mixed through it. The meat didn’t really taste like much but the texture was very smooth and a little powdery because of the spice mix. The texture resembles the German “mett” which is raw pork mince with onion and spices though it. However, unlike mett, this definitely had a very mild taste. Was a very interesting dish nevertheless.

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Raw meat!

Finally, we reached the samosas filled with lentils, onion and some chilli. The pastry was really nice and flaky but the filling lacked a little punch. Like the raw meat roll, these too were a little under seasoned and with not much flavour. It might be that the entree’s are meant to be a little bland to let the mains shine?

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Samosas with lentil filling

We got to choose three curries which were served with a special type for sourdough flat bread called “injera”. We actually received four curries as the owner gave us an extra one to try. Apparently he does that a lot (according to reviews)! The bread was very spongy and aerated with a distinct fermented, sourdough taste. I would liken it to a super spongy pancake! The owner showed us how to eat without cutlery which we tried. He told us that we took very small amounts and that we needed way more bread to pick up the curries! We were too dainty. It’s very easy to rip and is used to pick up the curries, soaks up the sauce and is extremely filling. The picture only has 2 rolled up pieces of injera, but we had already eaten the other two and were starting to get full. The owner also told us that the bread and all the food there is gluten free as they use a special grain found in Ethiopia. I have to double check the details of this though, as I didn’t quite catch all the information at the time. If you are coeliac then double check but I have a feeling that their cuisine is not wheat based which is awesome!

We had the doro alicha which is a mild curried chicken maryland in a onion curry served with a boiled egg. The onion is stewed and becomes very sweet which I liked however, it was very rich so I didn’t eat all the sauce. It’s super yellow too, probably spiced with some tumeric to get that lovely colour. We also ordered the kitffo which is the minced beef fried with spices and cottage cheese. We ordered this purely because it had cheese in it but it wasn’t cheesy at all. You got hints of cheese but it never took away from the beef. This curry was a little salty but was my favourite. Our final choice was the kik wot which is yellow split peas in an Ethiopian style dhal. My friend really liked this but for me it was bland. It did however, compliment the salty beef. I think the free dish was the key wot but I am not 100% sure, I just remembered he said it was spicy. Oh and it was… The lamb was super tender in a quite spicy sauce. I really liked it but I found it pretty spicy so I could only have a bit.

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4 curries with enjera

We only could finish half of what was there and we really really tried. We still had ice cream to come! The mango ice cream was my favourite. The other flavour is sesame which isn’t really my cup of tea because it’s a nutty taste. It was a nice way to finish a relatively dense and heavy meal. The owner also came out and offered us some fresh roasted coffee, we turned it down because I don’t drink coffee and my friend can’t sleep if she has coffee at night. The roasting generated an amazing scent that filled the whole restaurant.

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Ice cream to share!

I really liked this kind of food, the curries are milder both chilli wise and bold flavour wise compared to Indian curries. It is a nice change to the very strong flavours of Indian cuisine. I’d suggest you go very very hungry as the injera is extremely filling. I really love the injera and wish I could eat more of it! I’d definitely come back for the delicious food and for the warm hospitality of the staff there. The whole experience was really like they were hosting us in their own home.

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The menu

 

***Originally published Nov 2014 on my previous blog***