A Simple Curry to Warm the Bones

The Gluten Free Scallywag_Simple Chicken Curry

Winter here in Melbourne has bought chilly mornings meaning that I walk out the door most days wrapped up in multiple layers; stockings, skirt, top, cardi, my favourite green jacket, scarves, gloves and occasionally hat.

I actually really love this weather . I find there's something about the cold and the fact that you need to rug up that I find comforting, or perhaps it's all those extra layers that make me feel a bit like a teddy bear... Idon't know what it is but people tend to complain alot in chilly weather, perhaps it because they're wearing short skirts and short sleeves (hello! dress appropriately for starters people!) but when the sky is clear and a light frost makes the grass you tread on crunchy, I like it. I tend to hibernate in winter, I know, all this baking and I just can't get my butt out of bed at 6am for that morning walk, I blame the darkness for not wanting to roll my ankle. Mainly I bring it back to the positive which is that my bed is so warm and comforting, it's just calling for me to stay in there an extra hour, I'll get up early in spring time I say.

There's the Saturday afternoons that are filled with coffees piping hot with warm chocolate brownie for a decadent afternoon delight. After a baking marathon I've been known to send out a mass text message or facebook call out to friends 'afternoon tea at mine, byo hot beverage' it's a great way to catch up with friends and offloads the food I've been testing for clients or the Christmas Magazine . The sun in the sky grows dim early and as the temperature drops we tend to gather, round a fire, round a table . Slow cooking is what I love more than anything at this time of year, ok, so, maybe I love my warm bed more! but to eat I simply can't go passed a slow cooked bolognese , lamb shanks or roast or a pumpkin & tomato soup to warm the bones whilst you enjoy a bottle of red wine and a game of scrabble with friends. It's ugg boots around a fire kind of eating and I love it.

Don't get me wrong, come spring time I'm all for a spring vegetable quinoa salads with bbq chicken or a light lemon cheesecake instead of that dense and warm gooey chocolate brownie. I wake up for m more than my fair share of early morning runs. Even late afternoon runs, just as the sun goes down and the skies are tinted with pink where the sun disappears behind that curtain. Yes, I love the runs, mainly because I love my comforting all to carb loaded winter foods, but heck, I've got gluten out of my diet, I don't think I could live low carb, so I run and enjoy those moments. Mainly I enjoy those moments when I know that it's ok to steal a poppadom off my mans plate 'no, honey we only had two each' hahaha! So, here's to warm dishes on cold days. Enjoy!

The Gluten Free Scallywag_Simple Chicken 
Curry
The Gluten Free Scallywag_Simple Chicken Curry

This curry is a simple one that I've made many times thanks to a friend introducing it to me many, many moons ago. It's easy t throw together and then just leave it on the stove to bubble away. My man came into the relationship with a rice cooker and it's one if the things I love about him the most, that he brought that, ok, that AND the le Crueset into our kitchen and now I couldn't live without them both. Ok, I couldn't live without him either, but it's true, I've been known to say that if we ever do become two instead of one, I get that rice cooker! So, pop that rice into the rice cooker at the 20minute mark and you'll be sorted, don't have one? Find a store or a man that does! The curry, well, sometimes it's just potatoes, sometimes sweet potato and potato with the chicken , sometimes both plus peas or whatever vegetables are in the crisper in my freezer. It's simple to make and an easy fix for a crowd. You could even make it vegetarian; leave out the chicken and add extra veggies, some char-grilled eggplant would be delicious I think.

Oh, and don't forget the delicious crispy poppadoms. Lots of them are naturally gluten free, just read theingredients on all the packets in the supermarket and you'll be sure to find some.

Simple Chicken Curry

Serves 3-4 hungry souls

1 brown onion, roughly chopped

2-3tblspn mild korma curry paste - I used Patak's

400g skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

2 medium potatoes, cut into 3cm cubes

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes

1 x 270ml can coconut milk, thoroughly shaken up

1 x 420g tin diced tomatoes

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

pinch dried chilli flakes, optional

Poppadoms & steamed rice to serve

method

In a large heavy based pan with a lid, I love our Le Creuset for this, heat 2tsp vegetable oil over medium heat and cook the onion until soft. Add the curry paste and stir for a minute until fragrant. Add the chicken and stir to coat the chicken. Allow the chicken to cook on each side for a minute each, or until sealed.

Add in the potato and sweet potato with the coconut milk and tomatoes. Stir to combine, top with lid and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally for approximately 30minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through. Add the peas and cook a further 2minutes until cooked. If you want a little extra heat (as this paste is very mild) add a pinch or two of dried chili flakes for a little kick.

Serve with steaming hot rice and poppadoms.

Makes for a delicious lunch at work if you've got leftovers. 

A Catch Up & A Recipe for Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

Gluten Free Scallywag - Hot Cross Buns

Hi. It's been a while since I've visited this space. I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not really. Life got in the way and sometimes that just happens and I'm good with that. Plus it was a pretty good slice out of that delicious cake called life. The last two and a bit months since I shared my healthier take on the classic lemon slice have been crammed full of (mainly) wedding things. Yep, this girl who has never believed that a piece of paper was particularly important when she loves someone signed on the dotted line and married her prince (as my Mum puts it) just a few short weeks ago. It's true what they say that the day flies by and before you know it it's all over, but my goodness, you certainly collect some of the most awesome memories on that day of days . A day that was filled with friends, family, 186 polaroids, smiles, hugs, a few tears and jars of lavender, babies breath, seaholly and daisies dotted across tables while fairy light flickered our own starry sky inside the winery and a gluten free dessert table that would make a 6year old (coeliac) at a birthday party positively wet their pants with glee!

Hahahaha... yes, I just wrote that on a food blog - ha! It wouldn't have been our wedding without a bunch of surprises; such as me, The Bride, (my friend tells me capitals are required when saying that) jumping on the bus with the guests to the secret ceremony location, which I think was one of the highlights of the day, seeing their faces when I gathered my ivory gown in my hands and walked up to the top of the double decker bus in Margaret River's town centre - oh their faces! Oh the woops of joy, it was so much fun chatting and relaxing before those next big moments. Then that moment... I can't even explain, but boy was I happy to walk to himand finally hold his hands in mine... I may of may not have whispered 'I made it!'.

Although we couldn't serve Tokay or Muscat at the end of dinner due to the venue's liquor licensing, like we usually do when we entertain we did put on that gluten free, homemade from scratch dessert table thanks to the culinary genius of our Mums, my Nan, my gorgeous man and I and seeing every single guest pile their plate up high with those homemade desserts made the 5times that I made that banana cake worthwhile. If you follow me on instagram , you probably saw the testers. Although, I was disappointed that I got distracted halfway through my own piece of wedding cake and never got to finish it...

Gluten Free Scallywag - Easter in 
Daylesford, Victoria
Gluten Free Scallywag - Easter in Daylesford, 
Victoria
Gluten Free Scallywag - Easter in Daylesford, Victoria
Gluten Free Scallywag - Easter in Daylesford, Victoria
Gluten Free Scallywag - Easter in Daylesford, Victoria
Gluten Free Scallywag - Easter in Daylesford, Victoria
Gluten Free Scallywag - Easter in Daylesford, Victoria

One day soon, I'll make that decadent, but not too rich brown sugar, almond banana cake layered with caramel and mascarpone icing (again) and share it with you, but for now all I can share with you are some rather belated images from our Easter weekend. Spent up in Daylesford , about an hour and a half drive North West of Melbourne, with friends, new and old. It was a delicious day filled with lobster risotto, lamb cooked on an ingenious McGyver'd spit in the back yard (seriously, the aromas of delicious roast lamb followed me around for two days afterwards), there was berry picking and then berry throwing after we deduced that they'd been sprayed and then there were the hounds who ran around us whilst we wandered down to the little tourist railway whilst the sun shone through the grey Sunday clouds. There was dessert, I brought along my favourite brownie cooked in my new favourite fashion; with blobs of dulce de leche and big chunks of milk chocolate dotted through and melting like chocolate lava and this plum cake that I need to share with you soon. 

I had attended one of my gorgeous friend, Ali's tasting nights at her gluten free providore Three Ducks in Richmond (If you live in Melbourne and you're Coeliac like me, then you should definitely visit) the week prior and whilst wolfing down too many samples of the gluten free hot cross buns I spotted the Springhill Farm recipe card for their own hot cross buns and knowing that I had a pack of their real bread mix at home I knew what my Easter Friday would be filled with... the sweet aromas of cinnamon wafting from my oven. These hot cross buns were exactly what my belly was after, or maybe it was the half centimeter of butter I slathered on top? Either way - oh myyyy!

Gluten Free Scallywag - Easter in Daylesford, Victoria
Gluten Free Scallywag - Easter in Daylesford, Victoria
Lamb on a McGyver'd spit, lobster risotto, berry picking (and throwing out as they were sprayed) spent with friends old and new in rural Victoria. Now, that's bliss.
Gluten Free Scallywag - Easter in Daylesford, Victoria

I'm looking forward to visiting Daylesford again sometime soon in my new emerald green gumboots (yep, that's me and yes, I wore those boots for half the wedding day!), so that I can traipse around the countryside and then wrap myself up in a big cozy cardigan in front of a fire and fall asleep reading a book with my husband. Yes, it's totally weird saying that, but when he confirmed dinner the night after our wedding and said 'My wife's Coeliac' I did do a massive happy dance and throw my arms around him. I also did a complete 'Pretty Woman', running and jumping (falling) onto the bed in my bathrobe whilst giggling my heart out, but then, I've always loved that movie!

Gluten Free Scallywag - Hot Cross Buns

Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

Barely changed from the original Springhill Farm Recipe found here .

1 bag Springhill Farms Real Bread Mix (I used their fruit mix as it's all I had)

2tsp (7g) dried yeast

450ml warm water

1tsp mixed spice

1tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup castor sugar

1 1/3 cups sultanas

1 cup leftover christmas fruit mix with dried apricots too as you've run out of currants (or all currants if you have them!)

Glaze: 

Mix together 60ml boiling water with 1tblspn raw castor sugar & 1/2tsp cinnamon just as the buns come out of the oven.

Preheat oven to 200degrees celcius and grease and flour a 20cm round springform pan, or 20cm square pan with high edges.

Take 1/4 cup flour from your bread mix and set aside for later.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a sturdy stand mixer, Using the dough hook, beat on medium speed for about 10minutes. You could do this by hand for a fabulous arm work out, it'll just take a little more time (and effort)

Take half the flour mix you set aside earlier and dust your board and hands to stop the dough sticking.

Divide the dough into 10 or 12 equal portions and rolls or press into rough balls. Personally I like the rusticity of not quite perfect buns! As you roll the balls place them close together in your prepared tray. Cover with a teatowel or grease glad wrap and leave in a warm spot to rise for about 35-40minutes.

Mix the remaining flour mix with 1-2tbslp warm water to make a paste. Transfer to a small piping bag and pipe crosses over the buns.

Bake for 30minutes and they should be golden on top and firm to the touch. Oh, and your house will smell ah-mazing!

Remove from the oven and brush over the glaze. Leave the buns to cool for approximately 30minutes as they do retain their heat.

Serve warm with butter and jam if you wish.

Will keep for 3 days in an airtight container. Simply break off the buns you want, wrap tightly in alfoil and heat in a preheated 200degree celcius oven for approximately 10minutes.

Not a hot cross bun fan? Check out some of my gluten free chocolate recipes for your Easter instead.

Brown Rice & Chicken Salad with Spicy Yoghurt Dressing (EF + NF)

The Gluten Free Scallywag - Brown Rice 
& Chicken Salad with Spicy Yoghurt Dressing

It seems to be that time again,  the days are growing longer and the temperature is slowly rising. S

pring is here and summer, in Australia at least, is just around the corner.

Yes, the days of

licking melted ice cream

from your fingers and beers are chilled ready for warm sunday afternoon drinks in the sunshine. I'm looking forward to it all. The past 12months have been a whirlwind and I am so looking forward to the next 12months. For the next two months I'm working on Volume 2 of

The Gluten Free Scallywag Christmas Magazine

as well as doing some work for clients too and lets not get started on the days over the Christmas holidays that will be spent lazing in Margaret River with my family... oh I can't wait!

Next year can only bring great things with our wedding and honeymoon happening in 2013 (yoooo!) which brings me back to this delicious salad. To be honest, I've never been a huge salad fan. My gorgeous man can sit and eat a whole bowl of just greens with his steak, me? I need some rosted veg or something with it and throw in some danish feta, that always makes a salad better - ha! This salad is my way of reminding myself that

summer is just around the corner

and getting into 'that' dress is just beyond that, so it's time to eat smarter, eat a little lighter and a get my ass outta bed in the morning, because I can guaruntee you with the gluten free fruit mince pies and shortbread I'm gonna need to think healthy to be happy with myself in a pair of short shorts this summer!

This salad is the perfect answer to a delicious and nutritious lunch or dinner

-  packed full of goodness with brown rice, brown lentils, fresh greens, pumpkin seeds and chicken for protein it's what I call my starter salad.

It's a starter salad as this is just the beginning.

Tonight we had this salad but added in half a chopped cucumber, a corn cob with the fresh, delicious corn chopped off, parsley and a chopped avocado - it was wolfed down, with a sneaky tupperware filled with enough for my lunch tomorrow. Next time, I'm going to use this starter salad and add roasted pumpkin, beetroot and danish feta. Yum. Bring on summer!

The Gluten Free Scallywag - Brown Rice 
& Chicken Salad with Spicy Yoghurt Dressing

Brown Rice & Chicken Salad with Spicy Yoghurt Dressing

Serves 2 hungry bellies

1 barbequed or pan fried chicken breast dusted with mixed herbs and smoked paprika prior, barbequed or pan fried.

1/2cup gluten free greek yoghurt

1/4tsp harissa paste

1cup cooked brown rice, cooled

1/2 tin of brown lentils, drained

1 spring onion, chopped

1 handful mixed greens, I used baby spinach and rocket

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/4cup pumpkin seeds

Stir together the yoghurt and harissa paste.

Shred the cooked chicken breast and toss together the brown rice, lentils, onion, greens and garlic. Mix through half the yoghurt and harrisa paste mix.

Arrange on your serving plate, scatter with pumpkin seeds and drizzle with remaining yoghurt dressing.

Serve immediately.

This recipe works well with cold or warm brown rice. Can be tossed together a couple of hours befor serving, simple omit the greens leaves until serving so they stay crispy.

Not into meat? Leave it out! Don't like brown rice? Use quinoa! Love nuts, scatter some roasted almonds on top with the pumpkin seeds. Love roasted pumpkin, add it in!

This salad is just the beginning of your love affair with brown rice salads.

I know it's mine. 

Lamb & Lentil Ragu (DF, EF + NF)

Gluten Free Scallywag - Lamb & Lentil Ragu

Things have been a bit crazy in my world down here at present and not in a bad way I might add! I've taken on new responsibilities at works lately (don't you just love getting your head around something else to while away those 8hours? I do!), we're having fun planning the pretty bits n pieces for our wedding next year, where I've been having heaps of fun exploring a few of my fave wedding blogs online

here

,

here

and

here

if you want some gorgeous wedding inspiration, or heck just an awesome party!

We're loving the process of putting 'us' into our big day.

Gluten Free Scallywag - Lamb & Lentil Ragu

There have been some exciting foodie projects in the pipeline that I'm working on for a client and

I've been thinking about a 2012 edition of the

Gluten Free Scallywag Christmas Magazine

. The first edition from last year was and still is read often and I received great feedback on it, so I need to organise my game plan now if I want to share with you all another batch of delicious gluten free christmas  ideas!

I'd love to know what you think

- Would you like to see Issue 2 of the

Gluten Free Scallywag Christmas Magazine

? What's a recipe that you'd like to see in it?

So, with all of this happening, I've not had time to labour over the stove, so, I throw a few things in the pot, let it

simmer away for a few hours

and ta-da delicious lamb and lentil ragu! All you need is some gluten free spaghetti with mounds of parmesan and you'll

have a delicious feast with minimal effort

(and cost - cheap cuts are a wonderful thing).

Gluten Free Scallywag - Lamb & Lentil Ragu

The Gluten Free Scallywag's Lamb & Lentil Ragu

Feeds 4-6 hungry bellies

700-750g lamb stewing pieces, preferably with bone in for more flavour

1 brown onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 small carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and chopped

1 piece celery, cut into small pieces

2 x 400g tinned tomatoes

1/2 cup brown lentils soaked for 6-12hours and drained or 1 x 400g tin brown lentils, drained

1/2 cup red wine (plus a glass for yourself while it simmers)

1 cup gluten free vegetable stock

2 bay leaves

pasta to serve (be sure to choose an egg and dairy/lactose free one if required)

Heat a tablespoon of your preferred cooking oil in a large heavy based pot (in my case our beloved le creuset) brown the lamb pieces on each side and set them aside.

Sauté the onion, add a little more oil if none left in the pot, until translucent and softened. Add the garlic, carrots and celery and cook for a minute or two to soften. Add the remaining ingredients along with the browned lamb and bring to a low simmer with the lid on and cook for 3hours. You can do this by continuing on the stove, or if your pot is oven safe transfer it to a 140degree oven and cook for 3hours with the lid on. Be sure to stir your ragu a couple of times to ensure nothing is sticking and there is enough liquid in there to keep it all stewing away, if not add a half cup of water or stock. 

After 3 hours the lamb should be soft, so remove the pieces from the stew and with a fork carefully pull the meat off of the bones and break into bite sized pieces, if you chose a boneless cut then simply shred the meat a little.

I recommend dark clothing and an apron here it can get messy if you are on a slippery surface!

Discard the bones and return the meat to the pot. Cook on low for another 30minutes or until the juices have reduced to your liking, season with salt and pepper to your liking and remove the bay leaves.

Serve on top of gluten free pasta or some soft polenta – Donna Hay’s recipe here is always a winner in our house. Delicious with a good mound of soft, freshly grated parmesan on top. 

Delicious prepared a day ahead and reheated as, like a good spaghetti bolognese the flavours get better over time. 

Need this recipe to be egg, lactose or dairy free?

Check your gluten free pasta’s ingredients (or make the polenta) and use a suitable dairy or lactose free cheese alternative.