Saturday, 31 March 2007

Easter Biscuits (egg-free, dairy-free gluten-free)



I remember making Easter Biscuits during ‘Home Economics’ at school. I’m sure it’s not called that anymore. Probably something like, ‘Science of Food Technologyism’.

I loved Home Economics. The calm ritual of weighing out ingredients the night before, and putting them to bed in small plastic containers. Then tripping off to school the next day with my covered basket, a bit like Little Red Riding Hood. I desperately hoped those teenage wolves on the bus would notice me, especially the one with brown hair and blue eyes.

I loved arriving at my kitchenette. Pounding up the stairs so as not to be late and then the thrill as I saw the clean white surface, all for me. I would set out my stall of ingredients and each would have their turn.

I loved the time deadline, the busy purposeful air to the room. All sizes of pubescent bodies tied round the middle with school-issue aprons. Stirring, rolling, whisking, beating. It was my stage, I was in control, and the hormonal agonies of teenage life would subside just for an hour.

Then the matronly teacher would call us to attention and we would stand by our cookers. She would parade up and down the room and we’d wait with bated breath, not daring to look as she poked, prodded and tasted. A stern nod of approval, a tsk of disgust, we took it all on the chin.

And then the bell would go and we’d line up at the door. I always gave my kitchenette one last lingering look. Others would come and go in the week ahead, but really that kitchenette was saving itself for me.
Easter Biscuits
110g sugar (plus extra for dusting - caster sugar if you have it)
110g dairy-free spread
1 egg yolk equivalent - mix 1 tsp of Orgran No-egg with only 1tbsp of rice milk
225g rice flour
0.5 tsp caraway seeds
0.5tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
0.5tsp ground ginger
30g candied peel
55g glace cherries (finely chopped, check that they are gluten-free)
2 tbsp rice milk
For artistic touches:
approx 50g dark chocolate (at least 70% dark chocolate, gluten-free)
  • Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees celsius and line a baking tray with baking parchment
  • Cream the dairy-free spread and sugar until light and fluffy
  • Mix in the Orgran No-egg
  • Add the candied peel and cherries
  • Sieve in the flour, xanthan gum, caraway seeds and all the spices, mix to make a stiff dough
  • Add the rice milk so that the dough is malleable
  • Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 30 mins
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface, it should be about 4mm thick
  • Use pretty cutters to make your biscuits, and place them on the baking tray
  • Bake for about 10 mins, remove from the oven, brush with rice milk and sprinkle lightly with sugar
  • Put them back in the oven until they are lightly browned.
  • Note: if you use granulated sugar it doesn't stick too well, but adds a nice 'homemade' look!
  • I have dipped strategic parts of these biscuits in melted chocolate because really, why wouldn't you?
  • Melt the chocolate in a bain marie. (Put a small amount of water into a small saucepan. Place a large heatproof bowl on top. Heat the water until it boils. Put the chocolate into the bowl. The water shouldn't come into contact with the base of the bowl, but if it does, it's not the end of the world)
  • Dip the biscuits in the chocolate, paint faces, write stuff, enjoy!

© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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Friday, 30 March 2007

Spicy Roasted Vegetables (egg free, dairy free gluten free)

It is a little known fact that eating vegetables cannot make you fat.

Indeed I never feel quite so smug as when I’ve eaten roasted veg. The only drawback is that I eat so much roasted veg that I usually end up with a bad case of porcine bloat.
A further slimming advantage of this veg is its spiciness. Eating spicy food increases your metabolic rate and causes you to burn calories faster.
It makes you more beautiful and desirable to members of the opposite sex.
Actually, that last part might not be true.

Smug 'n' Spicy Veg Roasted Vegetables

This is best prepared the night before and left to marinade overnight.
For the marinade:
2 tbsp gluten-free Dijon Mustard (here's one)
4 medium tomatoes
a handful of fresh coriander (plus a little extra for garnishing)
4 (or more) cloves of garlic
chilli flakes
1-2 (or more) fresh green chilli (save some for garnishing)
olive oil (approx 3tbsps)

Vegetables:
This is a rough guide, and mix and match as you wish
6 large mushrooms, quartered
1 medium courgette cut into thick rounds and then halved
1 green pepper, cut into thick strips then 'cubed'
1 red pepper, cut into thick strips then 'cubed'
1 yellow pepper, cut into thick strips then 'cubed'
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion

  • Put the mustard into a large mixing bowl. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze the juice, pips and guts into the mustard. Discard the skins
  • Chop the coriander into the bowl, it's easy to do with scissors
  • Scatter in the chilli flakes according to taste
  • Chop the chilli, just in rounds, it doesn't have to be finely chopped. It will lose some of its kick in the roasting
  • Add the olive oil, mix it all up
  • Add all the veg to the marinade and mix until everything is coated. Add more olive oil if need be to loosen everything up.
  • Cover and leave overnight if possible
  • Heat the oven to 200 degrees C
  • Tip all the veg into a roasting tin and spread it out evenly. Place the tin into the oven
  • Stir / turn the veg after about 20 mins. It should cook for about 40 minutes. It will be quite 'juicy'. You can reduce the heat towards the end to evaporate off the juice if you like. Or leave it juicy, it's a matter of taste
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining coriander and some chopped chillis. Serve it from the pan; so much easier
  • Serve with rice
  • It's lovely cold the next morning too; an excellent hangover tonic.


© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Gluten Free, Vegan Chocolate Truffles (egg-free, dairy-free gluten-free)



Some days I would like to have a Tazer. I saw one used in a domestic setting once, by those clever boys from Jackass. It had an instant calming effect.


When my children are ruling the house with the iron rod of screaming, squabbling, running and crazed laughter, I want a Tazer. Then I remember that I have playdough.


They all sit and use it. The baby squidges it between her chubby fingers, and my boy makes a row of brightly coloured guns. My two big girls fashion a tea-set. The rules required for the use of their tea-set are extensive, complex and intricate. They make the Japanese Tea Ceremony look like, well, child’s play.

Yes, playdough brings calm to a raging heart and peace to troubled souls.


And the best news is, you can get adult playdough. Not in some dodgy underground night club, but in your very own kitchen. Truffles. First you get to play with the inner mix of chocolate, fat, alcohol and sugar. You can squidge it between your chubby fingers or make a row of guns. I like to make odd-shaped balls. I would like to make perfect spheres, but that skill appears to elude me.


Then you roll the squidgy playdough in melted chocolate. If you are clever, you will get the chocolate up to your second row of knuckles. When it solidifies, there’s only one reasonable way to remove it, just remember to wash your mouth out.


Yes, take it from the Pig, making truffles brings calm to a raging heart, and peace to troubled souls.

(For a gluten-free playdough recipe, click here)

Pig's Truffles
Makes about 30 truffles, more if you make small ones. But who wants small truffles?

For the filling:

175g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids, gluten-free)

2tbsp water

125g dairy-free spread

3 tbsp (or more) of Cointreau (or other liqueur)

1 dessertspoon sugar (or more or less, according to taste)

Cocoa powder for dusting


For the shell:

Approx: 200g dark chocolate

Paper presentation cases


  • Break the dark chocolate into small-ish pieces and place in a 'bain marie' with the 2tbsps of water. For the bain-marie: fill a small saucepan with about 5 cm of water, place a large bowl on top. The bowl shouldn't touch the water. Heat the water until it boils, it will melt/heat whatever is in the bowl
  • Melt the chocolate and water in the bain-marie, stirring continuously
  • When the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and add the dairy-free spread. Beat together to form a smooth and glossy paste.
  • Add the Cointreau, and sugar if you are using. Beat again. Adjust flavourings to taste
  • Fill the sink with cold water so that the water reaches half-way up the outside of the bowl containing the chocolate mix
  • Place the chocolate bowl in the sink and whisk vigorously. This will cool the mixture down and also make the resulting truffle centre nice and fluffy. You will need to whisk for about 5 minutes until the mixture suddenly thickens, that point is very gratifying!
  • When the mixture is thick like a paste, chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
  • The best time to mould the truffles is when the mix is still soft but not warm. You can chill the mix for longer than an hour, just remember to remove it at least an hour before you want to mould it
  • Line a baking tray with parchment and set aside. Sieve the cocoa powder onto a plate
  • Take teaspoonfuls of the mix from the bowl and roll around in your hands to form balls.
  • Roll the balls in the cocoa powder until they are covered and then place on the baking tray. Repeat until all the mix is used up
  • You could now chill these for at least 12 hours, uncovered in the fridge, or move onto the next stage.

For the shell:

  • Line a baking tray with baking parchment
  • Melt the rest of the chocolate in a bain-marie.
  • Let it cool slightly (placing the bowl in a sink of cold water will accelerate this process)
  • Then take the cocoa dusted truffles and one by one drop them into the melted chocolate.
  • Roll them around with your fingers and use a spoon to ladle more chocolate over the bits you can't cover. Place the balls onto the baking tray. Repeat until all the truffles are covered in chocolate
  • Leave the truffles to chill in the fridge. At least 4 hours, but overnight is fine
  • When the chocolate is solid, each truffle will have a little flat base where the chocolate ran down. You can shave this off carefully with a serrated knife if you wish.
  • Place the chocolates in their pretty cases and feel very happy
  • Serve to grateful and admiring family! Or friends.
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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Monday, 26 March 2007

Seedy Mix (egg-free, dairy-free gluten-free)



This bunch of seedy types don't look very attractive, but they are very versatile. Put them on your salads, on your spuds, or just swallow them down with some orange juice or alcohol. The former will help your body absorb the iron in the seeds. The latter won’t.

A word of warning. The poppy seeds get stuck in your teeth.

Alpha Mums – check your teeth before the school run, seedy teeth will ruin your look.

Beta Mums – you probably don’t need to check your teeth.

Stay At Home Dads – you also don’t need to check your teeth. The Mums will be checking your arse, not your teeth.

Finally, this mix goes out to Sean. Sean, you can’t eat the Brazils in Munchy Mix, but you’re still special to me.

Seedy Mix

130g sunflower seeds
130g pumpkin seeds
75g linseeds
0.75tbsp gluten-free yeast extract(here's one)
1.5tbsp olive oil
2 tsp vinegar
Salt and black pepper
As many chilli flakes as you like



  • Light the grill in readiness for toasting the seeds.

  • Line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment

  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the yeast extract, olive oil, vinegar, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. You may need to use a mini-whisk to get the gloop really smooth.

  • Add all the seeds to the gloop and mix around until all the seeds are coated.

  • You may need to add some more olive oil to get everything coated.

  • Spread the seeds out on the baking trays, try to spread them thinly, this helps them toast more evenly

  • Place them under the grill and hover nearby, they can burn really quickly, be on your guard!

  • When the surface is brown, use a spatula or spoon to turn them over.

  • Brown again and repeat as often as necessary until the seeds are lightly toasted.

  • Enjoy!

© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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Friday, 23 March 2007

Christening Cake (egg-free, dairy-free gluten-free)



I was once a Lady for a day, and attended a wedding as one half of a royal couple. The story runs thus…

Two fantastic friends invited us to their wedding. As tradition demands, I logged onto their wedding-list website and chose a gift. When it came to giving my ‘title’, the drop-down menu displayed a dazzling array of choices! Viscountess, Baroness, in the end I plumped for plain ‘Lady’. It’s amazing what can make a stay-at-home Mum giggle for the best part of a day.

Our fantastic friends approved of our new royal status and duly listed us on their seating plan as Lord and Lady X. You could see the heads swivel as we modestly made our way to our seats. Of course I ‘fessed to the other members of the table and regaled them with my story. I noted some hostility from a guest opposite. He later collared the Groom and berated him for sitting us at the same table, ‘You know I hate the Royals’. I wonder if I have a naturally regal air.

The meal began and the owner of the venue made his way to our table. "Is everything to your satisfaction Sir?" Lord X looked around and nodded his approval, "Great thanks, oh, could we have some water?" The owner retreated. The guest to my left began to giggle, "He really believes it!" Behind our backs the poor man had raced back towards his staff gesturing furiously that they should bring water and fast. He wasn’t doing a tour of all the tables, he had just come to ours. Oh how the other half can get menial stuff done for them in a jiffy.

Our fantastic friends have just had their first baby. She has a beautiful name and this is a cake for her. Congratulations!

Cake for a Lady
This cake is my first trial of Pure Wheatex 9010 Special, which you can buy from HERE. So far, so good. It has a lovely puddingy texture in this recipe, although I think I may have used the wrong-sized tin which increased the pudding texture. This flour is suitable for Coeliacs and gluten-free...give it a whirl! You don't have to use this recipe to make this baby cake, the mix can be used to build any cake you like.

190g dairy-free spread
190g sugar
3 egg equivalents (I used Orgran No Egg Egg Replacer mixed with rice milk)
285g Pure Wheatex 9010 Special flour 3 tsps baking powder
About 6tbsps Rice Milk to give a smooth, 'dropping' consistency
For the icing:
Pale, smooth jam, (apricot?) about 2tbsps
About 250g of white 'regalice' roll out icing (I know it's full of dreadful stuff, but it looks pretty and these are 'special occasion' cakes, you won't be eating them often)
Either 250g pink roll out icing, or pink colouring to colour the white icing, pink.
  • Heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius
  • Grease and line a 19 or 20cm round cake tin (a springform tin is ideal)
  • Beat the dairy-free spread and sugar together in a large mixing bowl, until pale and creamy
  • Add the egg equivalent bit by bit, seiving in a spoonful of flour each time. (I normally hate to sieve flour, I use a tiny whisk and whisk it through. Alas, the Wheatex 9010 special demands it I'm afraid - it's a bit feisty)
  • Add the remaining flour and beat well. The mixture will be thick; this recipe has a lot of flour so that the resulting cake will be firm and can withstand the 'modelling'.
  • Add enough rice milk to give a smooth 'dropping' consistency, the mix should drop off your spoon, but not too fast.
  • Scrape into the tin and bake in the oven for at least 50mins. Do check regularly.
  • Because I used too small a tin for this recipe, (18cm) the cake looked done but was still gooey in the middle. If that happens, cover the tin with aluminium foil and place back in the oven. This will stop the top browning too much.
  • The cake is done when an inserted skewer or knife comes out clean
  • Leave the cake to cool for a good half hour in the tin, then turn out onto a cake rack. Do not be concerned if the cake has a hard crust! I don't know if that is typical with this new flour, but for the purposes of this cake it doesn't matter, you will cut the crust off to get at the lovely springy cake in the middle.

Assembling the cake
  • When the cake is completely cooled (you can wrap it in kitchen paper and foil and chill it overnight in the fridge), place it on a chopping board or hard surface.
  • Carefully cut off all the hard outside crust so that you are left with the moist, inner cake
  • Cut the cake into cubes, they are to be the baby's building blocks. Place them onto the board on which you want to present the cake.
  • Melt the jam slightly and spread it over the cake blocks. I dipped my fingers in the jam and smeared it over, far easier than faffing with a brush
  • Roll out the white icing until it is about 3mm thick
  • Cut off enough to cover the first cube and try to cover the cube. I say 'try', it's not the easiest job and you'll have to pinch and squeeze and cut bits off until you get the desired effect. As you can see from the picture, no Nick Park am I.
  • Repeat the process until the cubes are covered. Stack them up as you see fit.
  • Roll out the pink icing, or colour the remaining white icing pink. (To colour the icing, dab the colouring onto the icing, fold the icing over the colouring, and roll out. Keep repeating the process until the icing is evenly coloured. Or leave it swirly for a different effect.
  • Choose whichever designs you like to prettify your blocks, I chose hearts 'coz they're easy!
  • I sprinkled the blocks with some edible glitter which you should be able to get at a good cake decorating shop.



© Pig in the Kitchen 2007




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Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Chocolate Brownie with seeds (egg-free, dairy-free gluten-free)






This is a tale of mistaken identity, that fortunately has a happy and comforting ending.

On Saturday morning I went for a run. It was the first run since the Paris half marathon and it was such a relief to no longer worry about running to a deadline. The French like their rules. There was to be none of that taking three weeks to run the half-marathon, dressed in a chicken suit for charity. No, you run it in 2 hours 50 minutes or the finish line will have been dismantled and you can race with the cars around the Château de Vincennes. On your own. That's a nice touch isn’t it? Really embraces the Olympic ideal of sport being accessible to all.

Anyway, although my Saturday run was childishly easy, about half-way round I started to think about energy bars. More specifically, a dairy and gluten-free bar, packed full of goodness, that I could give the children after school.

Monday morning, the creation was made. At first I thought I’d got it wrong, but, no, was it? It was! I was right! It wasn’t Energy Bar coming out of the oven at all, it was Chewie! Chewie Brownie! How nice to see her again after all these years. Let me tell you, she looks good, she tastes good and she is full of goodness.

I had lost an energy bar, but gained a lovely brownie! Every cloud…

Bon appétit!
Chewie Brownie
110g sunflower seeds
65g dried, sweetened cranberries
75g raisins
50g ground pumpkin seeds (grind your own at home, put the seeds in the liquidiser & whizz)
50g ground linseeds (ditto)
105g rice flour (sorry for the odd amount, it seemed to work best)
100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)
225g dairy-free spread
150g sugar
2 tbsps (and a bit) golden syrup (Lyle's is gluten-free)
  • Heat the oven to 170 degrees C
  • Line a rectangular baking tin with baking parchment, my tin measured 19.5cm by 27cm, a 21x 21cm square should work as well
  • Weigh out the first 6 ingredients and place them in a bowl
  • Melt the chocolate, dairy-free spread, sugar and golden syrup in a good sized saucepan. (I always add an extra bit of golden syrup 'coz of the stuff you can never get off the spoon)
  • When everything is melted and it's looking smooth and glossy, take it off the heat.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix to combine
  • Scrape into the tin, level the surface, and place in the oven.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes. The edges will be slightly raised and the middle should look a bit bumpy. A knife inserted into the brownie should come out clean-ish, Brownies are always a bit gooey until they've cooled down. Don't worry if you overcook slightly, it still tastes good.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • Cut it into slices whilst still in the tin, Chewie is a bit fragile, she doesn't like being lifted around too much.
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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Monday, 19 March 2007

Pineapple Upside Down Cake (egg-free, dairy-free gluten-free)


At any point during any day, possible book titles pop into my head. Their visits always take the same form. When they arrive I am thrilled and follow them round wagging like an eager, grinning puppy. They wander through my right brain and peer over the fence to the left brain. They always whirl round aghast at this point and stare at me; there really is very little activity in my left brain.

They then meander off and I sit patiently. During their walk, I plan the book. First the cover, usually a pastoral, homely scene. I spend quite a while envisaging my photo on the flyleaf...relaxed and ethereal? Or laughing gaily, head thrown back, my beauty apparent to all? I'm usually halfway through my acknowledgements, '...to my wonderful, sexy husband who adores me...'. When I hear a resounding slam. It is the book title leaving. Apparently there is nothing to interest them here.

It happened again last night. I spotted a tin of pineapple in the cupboard and BAM! there it was, standing with feet apart, arms folded, right in the middle of my sensory cortex. A bit stroppy this one, but called, 'Cakes of Yester-year'. Hmm, a nice title. It wandered off on the usual tour and I sat down to my usual planning. Funnily enough, as I heard the resounding slam I was quite matter of fact. Even I had worked out that this was not going to be a book. More a pamphlet. In fact, a one-sided, laminated flyer, destined to be snatched out from under your windscreen wiper and discarded. Sigh.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake


This is a little stodgier than the cake my mother used to bake (in yester-years), I am blaming the buckwheat flour. It did not stop me eating lots of it.


150g dairy-free spread

2 tbsps sugar (brown if you have it)

1 large tin of pineapple rings in natural juice

Glace cherries (about 9 or 10) Please check they are gluten-free,

110g sugar

2 egg equivalents (I used 2 tsps ground linseeds mixed with 4 tbsps rice milk)

100g buckwheat flour

75g rice flour

2.25 tsps baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence (check it is gluten-free, if not, you could leave this out)

4 tbsps rice milk



  • Pre-heat oven to about 170 degrees Celsius /Gas 4 (it will need turning up to 180 after about 10 minutes)

  • Mix the linseeds with the rice milk and set aside

  • Line a cake tin with baking parchment, my tin measured 19.5cm by 27cm, a 21x 21cm square should work as well.

  • Lightly grease the baking parchment (not the side in contact with the tin, the side the cake will go onto)

  • Sprinkle the two tbsps of sugar over the base of the tin

  • Arrange the pineapple rings all around the base of the tin, fit in as many as you can. Place a glace cherry in the centre of each pineapple ring.

  • In a mixing bowl beat the butter with sugar until pale and creamy

  • Add the linseed mixture and vanilla essence and beat well

  • Mix in the flour and the baking powder and 2 tbsps rice milk.

  • When the flour is mixed in, add enough rice milk (about 3tbsps more) to give the mixture a 'dropping consistency'. It should drop off the spoon when you hold it up. (but it shouldn't drop too fast!)

  • Carefully spoon the mix into the cake tin, trying to keep the cherries in place. Level it off.

  • Place in the oven for 10 minutes at 170degrees C, then increase the temperature to 180 degrees C

  • The cake should bake for about 50 minutes, it is done when it is golden brown and a skewer or knife comes out clean

  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then invert it onto a cooling rack.
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007



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Thursday, 15 March 2007

Vegan Chocolate Truffles (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)


It has taken me years to get the concept of Mother's Day.

The cards made at school with an excess of PVA and glitter are fab. The cut flowers are good, especially if someone else puts them in a vase. Breakfast in bed, a lie-in and the Sunday Papers, won't say no to that. Someone else doing that first horrendous pooey nappy, I am all for it.

But once I'd finished looking thrilled and smiling very widely for an hour or so, a really nasty person would surface. That ungrateful, greedy person who never feels like they've had enough Christmas presents. My harried husband would be juggling the noisy demands of millions of young kids and I'd still think, 'where's my fresh coffee?'. I'd petulantly ask if he could take them out 'coz I couldn't get back to sleep. I'd tut if he asked me the whereabouts of the nappy cream, and if a child escaped his clutches and made it to the bedroom to ask me a question...cue big flounce. And not from the child.

But now I've worked out the problem. I had bought into the marketing version of Mother's Day; a day when everything would be magically taken out of my control, I would totally relax in my own home, and it would be blissfull. A bit like when you get your first hit of gas and air.

It's just not realistic is it? The only way to have a day off on Mother's Day is to go off. For the day. On your own. Which kind of defeats the object.

So I shall enjoy my eager children this year. I shall still take the lie-in, breakfast on a tray, fresh coffee and the papers. But after that I will get up and share my chocolates. Maybe.


Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day Truffles

125g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)

75g dairy-free spread

2 dessertspoons of water

2.5 dessertspoons of sugar

1.5tbsps Grand Marnier

Cocoa Powder for coating

Pretty presentation cases


  • Melt the chocolate in a water bath. Place a large bowl onto a small saucepan. Fill the saucepan with a little water. Put the chocolate in the bowl and bring the water in the saucepan to the boil.
  • As the chocolate melts, stir vigorously to make a smooth paste. Add the sugar and stir again
  • Take the chocolate paste off the heat and add the margarine. Stir again. It may help to put the bowl back over the steaming saucepan so that the paste becomes glossy and smooth
  • Add the Grand Marnier
  • Chill in the fridge for a few hours. You can accelerate the chilling by placing the bowl in a sinkful of cold water.
  • When chilled, stir the paste. It should be stiff
  • Seive some cocoa powder onto a plate. Make a small ball of chocolate and roll it around in the cocoa powder.
  • When completely covered, toss it from palm to palm, a bit like a hot potato, to remove excess cocoa powder.
  • Place in pretty case
  • Present to your Mother. I hope she's nicer than me
For chocolate-covered truffles, go to Pig's Truffles
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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Salsa


I would love to learn Ballroom Dancing. I want to glide around a room with elderly people who learnt their gentle skill in a by-gone era.


I aspire to the nonchalant look as my partner gently holds me and my feet do impossibly intricate things.


There is a scene in The Sound of Music where Maria dances the Ländler with Captain Von Trapp. It is so beautiful it makes me hold my breath. And then I feel like crying. I have no idea why, and I feel very foolish, it is at odds with my usual scepticism.


Still, my Salsa is neither gentle nor romantic, but it will dance on your tastebuds. Have a chilled beverage to hand.


Salsa


2 onions, finely chopped

3 small green chillis

Olive oil to fry

1 large tin of tomatoes / tin of chopped tomatoes

Big handful of fresh coriander

1 tbsp tomato puree

0.5tsp sugar

Crushed dried chillis are optional


  • Finely chop the onions and place in a frying pan

  • Chop the chillis (top tip, if you freeze them first and chop them whilst frozen, they don't burn your fingers) and place in the pan

  • Fry the onions and chillis gently for about 4 mins, stirring so that they don't stick, or brown

  • Chop in half the handful of coriander (easiest is to hold it over the pan and cut with scissors) Stir through

  • Open the tomatoes and chop them into the pan. Stir

  • Bring to the boil and then turn down so the salsa simmers gently

  • Add the tomato puree

  • Simmer for about 15 minutes stirring ocasionally. The aim is to simmer off the excess juice

  • At the end, add the rest of the chopped coriander and the sugar. Stir through and taste.

  • If it's not fiery enough, add the dried chillis. If it's way too fiery, damn, sorry! Add another tin of chopped tomatoes and more sugar.
Have this on a jacket potato with houmus, or just dive straight in with crisps, they double up as spoons you know.

© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Free From Cookies (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)


The curtain rises to reveal a clearing in a forest. It is lit brightly by the moon. Through the trees in the distance there is the flickering orange light of fires blazing.

Enter from stage left a young girl dressed in a faded military uniform. Her dark hair is tucked under her cap which bears a military insignia. She is carrying an enormous red flag on her left shoulder.

She advances to centre stage and waves the flag joyously. She stops, holds the flag high and declaims in a loud, clear voice:

"In Pig's New World we shall be FREE!"

From offstage right we hear the faint response:
"FREE!"
She stares towards the noise and raises her voice again:
"We shall be free from Gluten!"
Again the response, this time closer:
"FREE!"
Her face is shining with joy and fervour,
"We shall be free from Oats and Dairy Products!"
Ever closer comes the response, many voices reply:
"FREE!"
She starts to wave the flag.
"We shall be free from eggs, forever!"
Closer and closer come the voices, rising to a roar.
"FREE! FREE! FREEE!"

And suddenly from stage right and left, there throngs into the clearing, thousands and thousands of workers, shouting with joy and pride:
"Long live Pig! Long live Pig! Pig is great and good!"

The curtain falls, to tumultuous applause.
FREEDOM COOKIES
125g dairy-free spread
140g sugar
1 egg equivalent (I used 1 heaped tsp of ground linseeds mixed with 2 tbsps rice milk)
100g ground sunflower seeds (you can grind them in a liquidiser)
50g ground linseeds
50g rice flour
0.5tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinammon
175g roughly chopped dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
1 tbsp rice milk
  • Heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius
  • Chop the chocolate using a sharp knife
  • Line two baking trays with baking parchment
  • Mix the tsp of ground linseed with the rice milk (or water) and let it absorb
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the dairy-free spread with the sugar until pale and creamy
  • Add the linseed mix to the bowl and beat well
  • Add the sunflower seeds, linseeds, rice flour, baking powder and cinammon to the bowl and mix to combine.
  • Add
  • Add the chopped chocolate and mix again.
  • Put heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking trays. Leave room for the cookies to spread
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, but please check after 10!
  • Leave to cool on a serving rack.
  • Best kept in the fridge, solidified fat is always yummier!
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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Tuesday, 13 March 2007

One out, one in


Pig is feeling a little blue today.


It could be because I have finished the last piece of the Cake of Success, but I suspect it has more to do with having spent the day in hospital.


It was not an emergency visit, it was a pre-arranged date. The fourth little piglet and I hung out in the out-patients department so that they could re-assess her allergies.


My daughter does not have to carry an epipen*, she has never had an anaphylactic reaction , and no-one has ever suggested that her allergies are anything other than unpleasant and inconvenient. But I don't like it when I have to take her to hospital. Today they did 31 skin prick tests. They ran out of arm and had to cover her back as well.


And it was a bit like the beer in the fridge principal. One out, one in. The good news, no reaction to Soya, yey! The bad? A big reaction to Brazil nuts, oh and one to mustard but the doctor told me not to worry about that one. How can I not worry?


But I guess we just carry on. Manically clean the floor after each meal so she can't pick anything up, and bake, bake, bake. I've made some new cookies, watch out for those. And they won't have any brazil nuts. Or mustard.

* Alas, an Epipen was prescribed for her after a recent 'milk challenge'. October, 2007

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Saturday, 10 March 2007

Vinaigrette


What can you say about Vinaigrette?


It makes the salad.


And it definitely cuts the mustard.


One last thing. German folklore suggests that brides sew mustard seeds into the hems of their wedding dresses. This will ensure that they are dominant within the family home.


I think that's the best thing we can say about the mustard that makes the vinaigrette.


Vinaigrette

1 dessertspoon of gluten-free Dijon Mustard (here's one)
2.5tbsps Olive Oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
0.5tsp sugar (optional)

  • Put the Dijon Mustard into a bowl. If you plan to toss a salad in this vinaigrette, mix the vinaigrette in the salad bowl.
  • Add the olive oil spoonful by spoonful, mixing well after each addition. It should be nice and thick by the end.
  • Add the vinegar, mix again
  • If you find the vinaigrette too sharp, add the sugar. I like it sharp.
  • Serve with a green salad, a tomato and finely chopped onion salad, or drizzle over finely grated carrot. Or tell me your serving suggestion!
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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Friday, 9 March 2007

Handy of handiest links!


I'm very excited to have found this website!!!


The products look really good, and I have swiftly placed an order. I will let you know the results, but have a look for yourself.


And if you beat me to it, then please let me know your baking results.

Pigx

Gluten free Chocolate Cake (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)


I ran a half-marathon on Sunday. A half-marathon is 21 kilometres or 13 miles.

During my training and especially the night before the race, I contemplated the notion of human endurance, and why, why, do humans set themselves endurance tasks, and more specifically, why do they run?

I came across an interesting article that suggests that what made us stand up (and stay standing up), was the need to chase animals over long-distances. Or maybe the need to run and beat hyenas to the nearest dead carcass. I think I may be over-simplifying.

Well, from kilometre 12 to kilometre 19, I can tell you that I was all for reversing evolution and dropping to all fours. It hurt, and no amount of energy gel, water or oranges helped. It still hurt.

But I did finish the race, it was very emotional.

And I feel I deserve a treat. So I have baked myself a cake. A cake of success. And it is all for me. Because I'm worth it.


Cake of Success

110g dairy-free spread

110g sugar

110g golden syrup

100g rice flour

75g buckwheat flour

60g cocoa powder

1 egg equivalent (I used 1 heaped tsp ground linseed, mixed with 2 tbsp water)

140ml rice milk (approx a quarter of a pint)

0.5tsp bicarbonate of soda


Icing

220g sugar

3 tbsps cocoa powder

90ml rice milk

85g dairy-free spread

1 tsp vanilla essence

  • Heat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • Grease two round sandwich cake tins, 20cm in diameter
  • Melt the dairy-free spread, sugar and golden syrup in a pan
  • Seive in the flours and cocoa powder, mix well
  • Add the egg equivalent
  • Warm the milk slightly, add the bicarbonate of soda, mix it up, then pour into the pan
  • Mix well
  • Divide the mix between the two cake tins.
  • Bake for about 15-20 mins (check after 12 mins) until risen and an inserted knife or skewer comes out clean
  • Leave to cool for a while, then turn out onto a cooling rack.
  • When the cakes are completely cold, put one half onto a serving plate / cake board
  • Spread blackcurrant jam thickly onto the cake, (or other flavour jam) and sandwich the other cake onto the top

ICING

  • Put sugar, cocoa, milk and dairy-free spread into a pan. Heat to a rolling boil (I do like that term) and stir vigorously for about 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until the mix starts to thicken slightly.
  • I was in a hurry when I did this. I heated it for about 6 minutes, then took the pan off the heat and placed it into a sink of cold water (don't let the water come over the edge) and carried on stirring. It thickened up very quickly. I guess if you leave the icing to cool naturally, the net effect will be the same
  • Gloop the icing onto the cake. If you're clever you'll keep it just on the top. If you're feeling lavish you'll let it gloop down the sides and run onto the serving plate.
  • The icing has an extraordinary consistency, a cross between mozzarella and chewing gum. Very yummy!
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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Thursday, 8 March 2007

Gluten free chocolate brownies (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)


Enid Blyton had something to say about Brownies in her fabulous book, 'The Enchanted Wood'. When Bessie, Jo and Fanny are in the wood, they hear a noise and hide. They peep through the bush and see some small men with long beards. The beards are so long they almost reach the ground. How revolting. Jo recognises them straight away. He knows they are Brownies

Sadly, Enid Blyton did not write about the kind of scrumptious Brownies that Mother might have packed for their tea in the wood. She was talking about the other kind of Brownies, which in faery folklore are little elves that help around the house. They don't like to be seen, do all the jobs at night and will take food or gifts as payment. But not clothes. Don't try giving them clothes, they won't like it and will probably leave.


I so want a Brownie for my house. I wonder if I could tempt him with this recipe?


Brownies for Ian

These are for Ian- one half of a lovely couple- to help on his gluten-free journey.


110g dark chocolate (70percent cocoa solids minimum)

110g dairy-free spread

150g sugar (You could use 160g if you felt the need)

2 egg replacers (I used Orgran 'no egg' mixed up with rice milk)

100g buckwheat flour

50g rice flour

1 ripe avocado, finely mashed/pureed

2tbsps rice milk (or other milk you can tolerate)


  • Heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius
  • Line a square tin with baking parchment. Mine measures: 19cm by 19cm
  • Mash or puree the avocado. Get it as smooth as you can to avoid it being visible in the brownies
  • Put the chocolate and dairy-free spread into a large saucepan over a very low heat. Stir continuously until melted.
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the sugar.
  • Stir to dissolve. It should look glossy and shiny like supermodel hair.
  • Add the egg replacers and mix well.
  • Add the flour and 2 tbsps of rice milk/other milk
  • Finally, add the avocado and mix well
  • Pour it into the tin and place in the oven for about 20 minutes, but do check frequently!
  • It is done when the edges look slightly raised, the middle looks a bit bumpy and a bit shiny, and the knife/skewer you use to check should come out a little bit gooey. Confused? Trust your judgement, the squidgier the better!

PS: It has taken me almost all day to get this recipe right. 3 attempts, and I'm so relieved this worked. Really hope you like it!
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007


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Baby Spinach Pesto ((egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)


You've got to hand it to Spinach.


The over-cooked dark green offender of my youth, has been completely re-born under the cutesy brand 'Baby Spinach'.


A marketing masterstroke. Respec'.



Baby Spinach Pesto


135g sunflower seeds*

2 good handfuls of Baby Spinach

100-110ml olive oil

1 clove of garlic

4 big tomatoes

0.5tsp sugar

0.5tsp Dijon mustard (gluten-free)

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Salt and black pepper to taste


*I have used sunflower seeds for fear that some readers may have a Pine Nut allergy, if you don't, then use 60g pine nuts and 75g sunflower seeds if you want to.


  • Put olive oil into the liquidiser or blender

  • Add sunflower seeds

  • Add spinach, garlic, mustard and vinegar

  • Halve the tomatoes. Squeeze each half into the mixture, the aim is to get as much juice in as you can. If seeds and pulp fall in to, no worries. Discard the remains of the tomatoes

  • Press play on your liquidiser. I have to pick mine up and shake it as it blends so that everything gets chewed up.

  • If the mixture is too thick add some more oil and perhaps a splash of vinegar. (I had to add extra olive oil once I'd coated the pasta.)

  • Season

  • Enjoy!

PS: My son adores jars of Pesto pasta. He balked at my Rocket Pesto, but he gobbled this up!


© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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Monday, 5 March 2007

Chickpea and Quinoa Soup (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)


I was not best pleased when I heard that Chickpea and Quinoa were coming for dinner. I'd met her before and she was okaaay, but I'd never met him and didn't really want to. My life is too full to be wasting time on people I don't like.

I was cross because:
a) I would have to clean and tidy the house (no first-time visitor will understand that my house is lived in and not burgled)
and
b) what sort of a name is Quinoa? (Pronounced Keen-wah apparently, oh purlease!) He sounds like someone who will wear clothes I would rather not, and have strident political views on a fringe subject. I am sure he will have too much facial hair.

But the die is cast, the allotted hour arrives and as the doorbell summons, I stop my frantic tidying and 'welcome' them in.

Well, Quinoa was not what I imagined at all! Rather tasty in an understated way, and although a little pale and reserved to begin with, he warmed up nicely. Chickpea was looking great! She has such tight buns and a lovely golden glow. I really got her all wrong the last time we met. The two of them together were very good value. I was enjoying them so much I even forgot to bring my wine through from the kitchen! I actually forgot to drink! A very rare occurrence.

They will definitely be coming back to us, what a delicious evening!

Chickpea and Quinoa Soup

1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 leek
olive oil to fry
1 large tin of plum peeled tomatoes (chopped if you want)
1 small tin of sweetcorn
500g passata
2 big beef tomatoes
1 grated carrot
1 vegetable stock cube and 200ml boiling water
1 tin chickpeas
About 1/2 cup of Quinoa
1 teaspoon of sugar
black pepper to taste





  • Chop the onion, garlic and leek. Place in a saucepan, add olive oil and fry gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally


  • Open the tin of tomatoes, chop them and add to the saucepan


  • Add the passata and stir


  • Chop the beef tomatoes in half and add to the saucepan. I can't stand tomato skins, so once they have softened, I peel them off the tomatoes. I burn my fingers, but it's a small price to pay


  • Bring the mix to the boil, reduce heat and let it simmer


  • Peel the carrot and grate straight into the pan


  • Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water and add to the pan


  • Add the tin of chickpeas and tin of sweetcorn


  • Add the Quinoa and stir


  • Leave to bubble until the Quinoa is cooked. (Check the packet, but about 15 minutes I think)


  • Add the sugar


  • Black pepper if you want and serve!
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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Sunday, 4 March 2007

Muesli (egg-free, dairy-free)


I recently snatched a box of Muesli off a supermarket shelf. I snatched in a hurry because a small baby strapped to a metal trolley was screaming at me. When I got the muesli home I discovered it was full of less-than-natural ingredients. Unfortunately it had already been spotted. Once that box had gone I decided to stay with the Muesli theme. With a calmer baby in tow, I took my time and came home with an additive-free version. Very popular. But one box only lasts three days.

Call me cheap, but I'd far rather make my own!
Muesli
Please note that this recipe contains oats. Some people on a Gluten-free diet can tolerate oats, some can't. Most Coeliacs cannot eat oats. Please check and double check.
If this takes off in your house, you can bake huge batches and store in an airtight container. The following does about 4-5 bowlfuls.
60g sunflower seeds
120g oats
75g raisins
2 tbsp ground linseeds
1 dessert spoon of golden syrup
3 tbsps boiling water
0.5tsp ground cinammon
  • Turn on your grill to a medium setting
  • Put the syrup into a large mixing bowl and add the boiling water. Mix together
  • Put the sunflower seeds, oats and linseeds into the bowl and mix until coated with the syrup
  • Spread the mixture out onto a parchment-covered baking tray
  • Sprinkle the mix with the cinammon, stir round, then spread it out again
  • Put the baking tray under the grill...do not leave! It will burn!
  • When the top starts to brown, use a spoon to stir round. The muesli should start to stick in clusters. Try not to break them up as you stir, it adds to the 'bought this in a shop' look, image is everything.
  • When thoroughly toasted, put the muesli into a large bowl, add the raisins and mix. Add some extra sugar if you like.

Addendum: Eldest child who 'absolutely loves' my muesli has casually added that she doesn't love the sunflower seeds too much. I have therefore ground them up, and I don't think she will notice. Don't tell her.


© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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Rocket Pesto (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)



Rocket is the Spin Doctor of the New Green Leaves that became very trendy in the late Nineties. Under Rocket the old, tired image has been ditched, and smart new leaves have come in; leaves to which we can relate. They are pre-washed, in bags, and free from dirt, (although lately, more and more of that dirt seems to stick). What was previously a bit abhorrent is now really, really good for you. Rocket has a bit of a cheeky kick and spiky, high-heeled leaves; a bit of a Green Leaf Babe. I wouldn’t want to cross Rocket in an international crisis, who knows where it might lead?

Rocket Pesto

You can make this with any green leaves you want. I once made it with wild garlic that was growing in our garden, I wore my open-toed leather sandals to go and gather it.

60g Pine Nuts*
75g sunflower seeds
2 good handfuls of Rocket (or Spinach, Wild garlic, or a mix of as many as you want...)
10 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic
4 big tomatoes
0.5tsp sugar
0.5tsp Dijon mustard
1tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste

*I’m a tad concerned that some readers may have a Pine Nut allergy. I feel the clue may be in the name. If this is the case you could substitute with any nut to which you don’t have an allergy, or with Sunflower Seeds. One reader has already advised that he steers clear of them due to other established nut allergies. Please try Baby Spinach Pesto if this is the case for you too.x
  • Put olive oil into the liquidiser or blender

  • Add pine nuts and sunflower seeds

  • Add Rocket, garlic, mustard and vinegar

  • Halve the tomatoes. Squeeze each half into the mixture, the aim is to get as much juice in as you can. If seeds and pulp fall in to, no worries. Discard the remains of the tomatoes

  • Press play on your liquidiser. I have to pick mine up and shake it as it blends so that everything gets chewed up.

  • If the mixture is too thick add some more oil and perhaps a splash of vinegar

  • Season

I had this on a jacket spud the other day with some chilli flakes on the top. Yummy.


© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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Thursday, 1 March 2007

Banana Bread (egg free, dairy free, gluten free)

I'm not sure I ever forgave my Mother for trying to pass off a roast parsnip as a roast potato. I loved roast potatoes and was happily tucking in when the slimy sweetness of the putrid parsnip hit my tastebuds. I still have a slight gag at the thought. Have never touched them since. Nor Stuffed Marrow, but that's another story.

However, now that I am a Mother, I find myself resorting to similar tricks. My eldest is not keen on bananas. We both still remember - and marvel -at the day that she was so hungry, she ate a whole banana. She has never repeated the experience.

But bananas are good, lots of potassium and very good for hangovers. So I would like her to eat them; for the potassium not the hangover, obviously. And this is a success story, for when they come in the dark glasses and raincoat disguise of Banana Cake, she caves, and wolfs it down. I usually add dark chocolate to up the iron content (I tell myself), or if I'm feeling healthy I add raisins and soak them in orange juice to get them juicy.

Banana Cake
For a while this recipe has been lurking on my blog as egg and dairy free, but not gluten free (pause for sharp intake of scandalised breath). Today - with the help of my willing eldest daughter - we made two cakes. One cake with wheat flour and one with gluten free flour. After tea I did a taste challenge for my eager babies. They had to eat cake from each plate; the GF plate and the wheat flour plate, but they weren't allowed to know which cake was which. The first child pronounced in favour of the wheat flour cake (I began to sweat a little), one child plumped for the GF cake (my heart jumped with hope) and yet another child bent the rules and said both were as good as each other (big maternal grin). The smallest child just seized her opportunity and stuffed morsel after morsel into her mouth and kept asking for more. I declare both versions of this cake to be a success. At last, I can sleep easier in my bed.

100g gluten free, dairy free dark chocolate or 100g raisins
Enough orange juice to cover the raisins (if using)
125g dairy free spread
140g sugar
2 heaped tsps Orgran egg replacer + 4 tbsps rice milk / or 2 eggs if using
If using egg replacer, also add:1 tbsp ground linseeds + 1 tbsp rice milk (for ground linseeds: put linseeds into the blender and blitz until they are ground up)
100g cornflour/corn starch
75g rice flour
or 175g of self-raising wheat flour (or plain wheat flour + 1.5tsp baking powder)
2 medium bananas
1tsp ground ginger / mixed spice
1-2 tbsps rice milk
  • If using the healthy raisin/OJ combo, soak the raisins in the orange juice for as long as you can, overnight is good. If slacking, finely chop the dark chocolate

  • When ready to start, heat oven to 180 degrees C

  • Line a litre loaf tin with baking parchment

  • Put the No egg and ground linseeds into a small bowl. Add the 5 tbsps of rice milk and mix until there are no lumps. Set aside. Omit this stage if using eggs

  • Peel and mash the bananas until there are no lumps

  • Mix the dairy free spread and sugar together until pale and creamy

  • Add the linseed and no egg and mix well. Add the eggs if using, mix after each addition

  • Add the bananas and chocolate or the drained raisins

  • Add the flour and baking powder, xanthan gum if using and ground ginger/mixed spice. Mix well

  • Add 1-2 tbsps of rice milk to give a good smooth mixture

  • Tip into the loaf tin and put into the oven

  • Bake at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 160 degrees C and cook for a further 20 minutes. Cover the cake with tin foil and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. By now the cake should be well risen, brown and springy to the touch. Insert a skewer and it should come out clean save for molten chocolate. If it's not cooked, return it to the oven (covered) until it is cooked

  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about half an hour, then turn onto a cooling rack

The pictured version is gluten free, made with eggs and chocolate.
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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Pasta sauce (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)

It is always a tense moment. I have finally assembled all elements of the evening meal, and I can now tell the children to go and wash their hands. This is the signal for the older ones to assemble at the kitchen stairgate (the latter to prevent highly allergic baby from gaining entry) and to chime, "what's for tea?".

I dread the question and I dread their reaction. I smile brightly in their direction with slightly glazed eyes,
"It's Mummy's tomato sauce!" If I had a drum kit I would roll it. If I had time to put on a clown suit I would.

They fall away from the gate and the whisper goes down the line, "it's Mummy's sauce" (you'd think it was liquid poo, the venom they get behind those 3 words). My feisty number two is not one to mince her words, "yuk! I hate it! I'm not going to eat it".
Pin drop. "That's fine darling, you don't have to. But there's nothing else to eat". There's a chill in the room and the others wonder if Mummy and number 2 will go head-to-head. We eye each other balefully and then slink back to our corners to prepare for Round 2 at the dinner table.

Well I like my tomato sauce and at the risk of sounding strident and a little pompous, it is very good for you! It works on pasta, on spaghetti, as a base for pizzas and is very useful as a soup for weeny, toddlery ones. And they do like it really, it's just not one of their favourite meals.

It also has the virtue of being something you can rustle up on those days when you have completely forgotten that you have to cook tea for your children.

Mummy's Tomato Sauce
1 onion of any size
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, depending on your taste.
1 courgette
4 medium mushrooms
1 carrot
1 red pepper (or green or yellow)
Any bits of sweetcorn left in tins (no responsibility taken for metallic poisoning or other)
1 large tin of plum tomatoes or 2 small
The vegetables above are a guide. If you prefer celery, throw it in. The point of the sauce is that lots of veg gets 'hidden' in it, and that's got to be good, right?
1tsp/tbsp Dijon mustard (gluten-free)
Tomato Puree
Olive Oil
Herbes de Provence (or Basil / Oregano / Thyme / etc) Dried or fresh. Think I'm a bit of a pleb, i've never caught on to fresh herbs.
sugar
salt and pepper (optional)

This sauce gets 'whizzed' in a blender or with a hand-held blender. Your choice of cooking vessel will depend on which you possess. Frying pan for the former, deeper saucepan for the latter.


  • Chop the onions and garlic roughly and put in frying pan or saucepan. Add a glug of olive oil and start to cook on a low heat
  • Peel the carrot and chop finely. Add to the pan
  • Chop the mush and add to the above. Cover and leave to fry gently for a few mins, stir every now and then so that it doesn't stick
  • Slice the courgette and peppers and add to the mix
  • Add the dried herbs (or fresh herbs), stir round
  • Let it all fry / steam gently in the covered pan
  • Open the canned tomatoes and chop them into the pan. Or use chopped tomatoes, but I'm a little funny about tomato skins and can't abide them in a sauce.
  • Stir round and add a good long squeeze of tomato puree, about 1-2 tbsps.
  • Add 100ml of water (you may have to add more later), stir round, cover and leave to simmer gently for about 15 mins or so.
  • Add the Dijon mustard (if using) and about 2 tsps sugar (takes away the acid taste of the tomatoes)
  • Taste. Add salt and pepper if using, and more puree, more sugar as you see fit.
  • Put into blender and blend. (You might need to add more water if too thick) or use the hand blender. Keep the latter well submerged unless you want a Jackson Pollock look to your splashback.


© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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Humus/Houmus/Homus/Humous/Hoummous/Hummus (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)


Since I became vegetarian in '92, I have always liked to have Hoummous in the house, even though I never know how to spell it.

Living in France in the mid-90's, I found it impossible to buy, so took to making my own. I thought I made a rather good Hummus. True, I do remember a rather dodgy batch made using a potato masher and sans Tahini; it did tend to stimulate the gag reflex.


After embarking on the long and winding road of marriage, Hubby and I did a stint in China. Our shipment of stuff took considerably longer than us to arrive. When it finally put in an appearance I fell on my blender with joy and exclaimed, " Great! Now I'll be able to make Hummus!"

Hubby looked up. "Really?" he remarked, "You never could before"


Like I said, long and winding road.

Here is my rather more refined, wrong side of 35, recipe for Hoummous. I hope you enjoy it.

Humus/Houmus/Homus/Humous/Hoummous/Hummus


1 tin of Chickpeas

half a clove of garlic

50ml olive oil

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 medium tomato

2 tbsps Tahini

Salt and pepper to taste

Paprika to look pretty



  • Put Chickpeas, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice into a liquidiser or blender

  • Whizz it up until smooth

  • Cut the tomato in half and squeeze the juice and the insides into the chickpea mix

  • Blend again, add more oil and lemon juice if too thick

  • Add the Tahini and blend again

  • Season as you see fit

  • Serve with a sprinkle of paprika and crunchy veg

© Pig in the Kitchen 2007


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