Valentines Dinner Tips

Wednesday 29th January 2014

Our February guest blog is from Tracy Attridge, who offers some tips on cooking a gluten-free Valentine's Day dinner, as well as some easy gluten-free pizza recipes.

1) As my partner is the regular chef in our house, I make sure that when I'm cooking I've got a good recipe to follow! I'm not confident at just throwing ingredients together and knowing the right quantities, so if you're like me, make sure you have a recipe on hand. I've recently had a great gluten-free cook book for Christmas, aptly called 'the gluten-free cookbook' and it's certainly one I'd recommend! It has literally hundreds of recipes from breakfast through to desserts as well as a brilliant guide to gluten free living, including an explanation of coeliac disease and how to get started with living a gluten free lifestyle.

2) Be aware of hidden gluten! We all know the obvious things like bread and pasta, but don't forget that you need to be aware of gluten in gravy, soy sauce, types of chocolate and a large variety of drinks! Glutening your partner on Valentine’s Day really wouldn't be a good idea. Any brownie points for cooking in the first place will definitely have been lost!

3) Prepare your kitchen. If you use your kitchen for non-gluten free meals, all surfaces and utensils should be thoroughly cleaned before making a gluten free meal. Cross contamination is a regular cause of Glutening and something that everyone needs to be aware of. If you are cooking separate meals, make sure the gluten free meal is prepared first, to reduce the risk from cross contamination.

4) Make things from scratch, it's all about trial and error. You may want to save time by using processed food in a meal rather than making it from scratch, but you have to be aware that a large number of processed foods contain gluten, even when you don't expect them too. So, if you are making your meal from scratch, it's all about trial and error and testing beforehand so that it can be right on the night, i.e. if you're making gluten free pastry or batter, you need to try these beforehand as they don't always work well first time!

5) Advice from the chef in my house - try to make things simple so that more time can be spent with your loved one :)

Chorizo & Pepper Pizza and Goats Cheese & Red Onion Pizza Recipes:

 

Whenever I make a pizza, I don't tend to use gluten free pizza bases, instead I use Newburn Bakehouse gluten free white wraps! I've made a few of these before, but I thought I'd try some new varieties to see how I got on. I chose Chorizo as I'd previously made sausage pizzas, so thought chorizo would be a nice alternative (ensure it is gluten free). I chose goats cheese and red onion as this is one of my favourite flavour combinations that I've eaten in a restaurant, so I thought I'd try to recreate this at home.

Chorizo & Pepper Pizza ingredients:

  • Approx 5cm of Chorizo (finely sliced)

  • Yellow pepper (any colour would be fine, I chose yellow for some added colour)

  • 1/4 Red onion (finely chopped)

  • 2/3 ball of mozzarella (sliced)

Goats Cheese & Red Onion Pizza ingredients:

  • 1/2 Red onion (sliced)

  • Spinach leaves

  • Goats cheese (crumbled)

  • 1/3 ball of mozzarella (sliced)

Base ingredients:

  • 2 x Newburn Bakehouse White gluten free wraps

  • 1 tin of tomatoes split across the two bases

  • Basil

  • Tomato puree (optional to increase thickness of sauce)

  • Seasoning as required

Method:

From a tin of chopped tomatoes I spooned an even amount of tomatoes across both bases, leaving about an inch around the edge to ensure you still had space to hold the pizza. I tried to use only the thicker spoonfuls of sauce, leaving the juice in the tin as this could have made the base very soggy if it's either too runny or there's too much of the sauce.

The bases were then seasoned with a sprinkling of basil.

Once the base was prepared, I layered the pepper over the base and then added the onions over this. The mozzarella was then added next with the chorizo on top so that it crisped up when cooking.

Before compiling this pizza, I caramelised the onions for 5-10 mins in some oil with a sprinkling of sugar (whilst checking regularly as they can burn very quickly, as I discovered the first time!) for added flavour and once the base was prepared I added the red onions. This was followed by some spinach leaves, the crumbled goat’s cheese and the remainder of the mozzarella slices.

Both pizzas were cooked in a preheated oven at 180’c for 8-10 minutes, but they were checked regularly. For a crispy base, leave it in the oven a little longer.

 

The Newburn Bakehouse team are very pleased to introduce our guest blogger Tracy, find her at http://notatrace1.wordpress.com/