Pea & Ham Soup - Gluten Free Recipe from My Man

The Gluten Free Scallywag - Pea & Ham Soup

I  honestly don't think I'd have married my husband if he couldn't cook (let alone do laundry) it would completely alter the way our relationship worked. You see, he picked me up the day I was diagnosed. He helps every day to ensure I don't ingest gluten, whether it be by using 3knives to put the peanut butter on his toast (from his toaster), or double checking the ham at the deli is gluten free when I simply cannot be bothered and keep walking on, 'I can do without it anyway'. He is amazingly supportive and he absolutely loves to cook things slowly, last Friday morning he asked what I'd like for dinner. My response? 'Something warm. No salad' << See that right there? That is why (well, one of the 'whys')

I love this man

, he knows that I'd much prefer to veg out on a Friday night at home after a week at work and catching up on Gluten Free Scallywag emails rather than whip up dinner. After all, I'd done dinner during the week. Ok, except Monday, he did his awesome

Chicken Pesto Pasta

on Monday.

Before I'd even walked into the front of our building I was hoping the lovely aromas drifting through the front door were from our apartment. Inserting my blue key into our door and sure enough those rich aromas were indeed from our little kitchen;

slow cooked lamb shanks with green beans, peas & creamy mashed potato

(that mash would be on the list of why I married him by the way - amazing!). An hour later, glass of red wine in hand and still writing notes for this years Gluten Free Scallywag Magazine, I took my first bite of those lamb shanks 'Delicious!' I exclaimed. 'Well they'd better be, they've been cooking since 1o'clock (it was now 7.30pm.)

The Gluten Free Scallywag - Pea & Ham Soup
The Gluten Free Scallywag - Pea & Ham Soup

Unfortunately, I'm not sharing that recipe here today but one of his favourite winter time soups; Pea & Ham.Which he has always loved:

' I always worked in the garden or shed with Dad and would get the call to come in for lunch to find that Mum had made a massive pot of pea & ham soup with crunchy buttery croutons. I think 2 or 3 bowls later and I was in heaven. '

So, it is with a love of slow cooking both naturally and altered to gluten free that I share my man's recipe for Pea & Ham Soup. If you want to try more of my man's recipes check out his Pork Rack in last Christmas Gluten Free Scallywag and don't forget our Engagement Mustard Crusted Roast Lamb. Oh, and if you want that lamb shanks recipe yell out on facebook and I'll get him back on the blog!

David's Pea & Ham Soup

Serves 6; Start this recipe a day ahead

300g dried green split peas, soaked in a large bowl of cold water overnight, rinsed & drained

2 brown onions, finely chopped

2 celery pieces, washed and chopped into 5mm slices

2 medium carrots, peels and chopped into 1cm rounds

1L gluten free vegetable stock

1kg ham hock, fat scored

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1L water

1/4cup basil leaves, finely chopped

1tsp fresh thyme

method

In a large heavy based pot (we used our beloved 28cm le creuset) place the first seven ingredients plus 1litre cold water to the boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer with the lid on. Simmer on low for approximately 1.5hours. Skimming the impurities from the surface every half hour or so.

Remove lid and simmer for a further 30minutes, adding the fresh herbs in the last ten minutes.

Remove the ham hock and allow to cool slightly before stripping the meat away from the bone and set aside, discarding the bone.

At this stage you have two options, you can either whizz the soup stock and 60% of the hock meat in a blender until smooth and throw in the remaining hock meat in chunks to serve or you can keep the soup stock 'clear' (or un blended) with the hock meat simply returned to the pan. I recommend adding a cup of frozen peas and cooking for a further 10minutes if leaving 'clear' which is how it's shown in the above recipes.

Add pepper and salt as you wish, although definitely taste the soup first as the hock and vegetable stock can impart plenty of salt without needing to add it.

Serve piping hot with hot buttered gluten free toast.

Will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for 3days, or the blended soup would be suitable to freeze. Use within one month, defrosting in the fridge before reheating.

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. 

Tomato & Pumpkin Soup (DF, EF, NF, V)

gluten free scallywag tomato pumpkin soup

Food is such a comforting thing. I remember eating entire pots of mashed potato when I was sick, I used to put grated cheese on the top and let it melt, eat the top layer and repeat. (Yeah, who said comfort food was healthy?!) It was warm and filled the whole in my tummy and I knew it wouldn't upset my stomach not in a gluten free way, more like aewww... dairy? no not right now, or ewwww.... steak? no not right now, the whole chewing this is too much effort kind of way! I laugh as I remember my Dad's reaction to my coeliac diagnoses, so no more potatoes? He was so very disappointed when I said that I could still eat potatoes. He will still tell anyone that will listen that I could have bought shares in the potato farming business because of all the afternoon potato snacks I made. Let alone the massive piles of mashed potatoes that I would consume whenever Mum whipped them up.

Alas, I've not made my favourite comfort food today, although I do believe it'll be on my dinner menu very soon! No, I made soup, the other warm comforting food, perfect as Melbourne cools down. It's gorgeous here at the moment, the leaves in our street have changed colour and have fallen off the trees, piling up underneath parked cars and covering our pathway, perfect for swishing your feet through!

Don't you just love that? Seeing all the pretty leaves fly up in the air? It makes me feel happy, carefree and happy for that moment nothing else matters but seeing the leaves fall back down to the ground.

gluten free scallywag tomato pumpkin soup

The colours of the leaves are so pretty, autumn oranges, red and browns, a little like this autumn soup full of rich tomatoes and gorgeous pumpkin. It's dairy free & nut free too,well, at least it is if you don't add my serving options - a dash of cream and a dollop of fresh homemade basil pesto  I hope you enjoy it as much as we have been, becuase it is a synch to make and full of good things to help you through the cooler months, unlike the delicious but not so nutritious bowl of mashed potato I used to eat!

Tomato & Pumpkin Soup

Makesjust under 2L, or about 4-6serves (depending on how hungry you are!) 

1 small brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 2cm rounds

1 piece celery, chopped into 2cm pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 grey pumpkin,  skin and seed removed, cubed into 5cm pieces

1 x 400g tin tomatoes, whole or chopped will do

1L (4cups) gluten free vegetable stock

Heat a large 3L capacity pot and add a tablespoon of oil. Heat the oil and add the chopped onion and cook until it is soft and translucent. Add the carrot, celery and garlic and cook for 4-5minutes until softening. Add the pumpkin, tomato and stock to the pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20minutes with the lid on, remove the lid and continue to simmer for another 10-20minutes until pumpkin is soft and a third of the liquid has evaporated. If too much liquid has evaporated, add in a slosh of water or two.

Allow to cool completely before buzzing in the blender. I find it best to blend in portions and then mix it all in a large bowl and seasoning with a little salt and pepper.

Will keep refrigerated for 5 days & I'm sure it would freeze well too. Perfect to make ahead for dinner or lunch during the week.

If you're not lactose or dairy intolerant then you can serve this soup with a little cream and a spoonful of basil pesto . Of course, a crispy toasted cheese sandwich to have with this would make it even more comforting! 

Roast Lamb Rack for our Engagement (DF, EF & NF)

Engagement Roast Lamb

My life has changed a lot in the last 5+ years. I'm moved from Melbourne to my hometown of Perth where I began work with an amazing team of architect and interior designers and met a man there. A lovely man who I fell in love with. Hard. It's the first time I'd ever fallen in love and boy was I scared. Scared I'd lose him, scared he'd find someone better, scared that I'd do something wrong. However, I was wrong, as he's a steadfast man. A man of few words when it comes to love and life, yet, when he does say those words, boy do you know that he means it.

He picked me up the day that I was diagnosed Coeliac. The day that I stood by his emerald green ute and cried that I'd never eat liquorice or lamingtons again. That Redback beer would never again pass my lips on hot summer days and that charred sausages in soft buns would never be eaten again. Yet again I was proved wrong. I've had all of those things since being diagnosed 4years this past December, although Redback beer isn't one of them I have found reasonable gluten free beers around and I've fallen in love with a crisp dry apple cider on those hot summer days.

We moved in together the following June, as living with our friends was driving them nuts. In fact I'm quite sure my friend I was living with at the time was ready to well, throw up ever time we were there we were so sickeningly head over heels and enjoying the honeymoon stage of our relationship with alot of good food, friends and wine. We haven't looked back since moving in together and buying brand new toaster just for me. He helped me through my dizzy spells that would take over the first 12months after my diagnoses, and always made sure if we were eating out or at friends that there was something for me to eat. I need not have been so worried, as subconsiously I'd met and fallen for the most lovely guy. Someone who not only looked after me when I was ill, but even now ensure I've got something gluten free on the menu. He runs to the shops when I need ingredients, cooks delicious meals and does the dishes and laundry.

Earlier this year after his and my Dad's birthdays in late March we moved here, to Melbourne. It had taken a little convincing, my man had never lived anywhere else but Perth so moving interstate, away from family and lifelong friends was two years worth of convincing (read: nagging) on my part! However, we did make the decision together to finally move so exactly 9months ago today we moved to my little apartment that I bought over five years ago. We arrived with no kitchen and it took a few weeks to get out of the habit of doing the dishes in the bath and of cooking dinner on our camping stove after the kitchen was completed. It's done now and I will show you some pretty pictures of it someday soon, as I've only got these photos and it's no much nicer now!

We are thoroughly enjoying living in Melbourne and of course visiting some of the hidden bars in the city as well as new restaurants is one of the highlights for us as we both enjoy a tipple and some good food. Some favourites visited so far are Coda , Cumulus Inc (for my birthday - oh the lamb - I've no words!), Cookie and as I love a good late breakfast on the weekends, we've loved visiting Hardware Lane , Friends of Mine (pop up the road to Burnley and grad some of the delicious gluten free bread thay stock, Janes Bread from Three Ducks ), Spoonful & Coin Laundry for a delicious brunch. There are so many places to visit in Melbourne and I'm often found on the Broadsheet on my mobile finding somewhere to pop into for drinks or a bite to eat around town on the go.

Of course, when we're home we're enjoying some homecooked meals, my man does some delicious dishes - everything from a kick arse lemon lime bitters to slowed cooked ragu, pesto pasta , lamb shanks, with the creamiest of mashed potato (my beloved grandad would have been happy with his mash!) he also whips up his Mum's delicious banana bread in no time aong with stuffed, baked chicken breasts and as he cooked just over a month ago a yummy mustard crusted lamb rack.

He actually made these mustard crusted lamb racks at the end of November as a last minute savoury dish for the Gluten Free Scallywag Christmas Magazine , however due to the accompanying story I thought they deserved a post all to themselves...It was a balmy Wednesday night and I arrived home after work with the smell of lamb and potatoes in the oven. We opened a bottle of red, you know, 'for the photos' (hehehe) and we enjoyed the meal together. After we cleared up our plates I popped back onto the couch to relax and watch some crappy tv. My man was kneeling down andrustling around in front of the tv and I said:

what are you doing? Have you got a present for me?

He never does, but alas, this time I was wrong! His answer was something along the lines of:

Well, kinda.

At which point he shuffled over on both knees and asked me to marry him! I looked at him. At the gorgeous hand drawn engagement ring , complete with a space for my finger to go through that he'd presented me with the words

'will you marry me'

written on the bottom.

What?

Was all I managed to get out as I looked past him at the tv, back to him, the 'ring' down at my comfy pants I was wearing and back up at him. At this stage he got as far as saying:

So is that a.... Yes! Yes! Yes!

I said and flung my arms around him, tears flowing. Completely blown out of the water, shocked surprised and so overjoyed that the man I'd fallen for had chosen me. That loved up little 'us' were going to be spending the rest of our lives together. I couldn't stop crying, laughing and hugging him, or looking at the gorgeous hand drawn ring in awe.

Engagement Roast Lamb

So, as this year, comes to a close, I am so thankful for the little moments in life that can make our lives that little bit happier. Whether it be to go and get that dreaded test. To add an extra cup of chocolate chips to the banana cake (do it I say!). Say goodbye (for now) to friends and family and move interstate or overseas. Go that extra mile on your morning walk and see the butterflies flutter through the morning light. However, this year, most of all though, I'm thankful for the man that chose to spend the rest of his life with me.

I can't wait to enjoy all those firsts that come as a couple in love such as ourselves. We, whom moved in together and never really left the sickly kiss-at-any-moment, hold hands down the street, snuggle on the couch and write notes to each other when we go away, honeymoon stage of our relationship behind. I hope never to. I will tell you

I love you every day for the rest of our lives together. I love you .

Engagement Roast Lamb

Serves 2

1x 6-8 piece lamb rack

whole seeded mustard

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1/2 cup fresh or 2-3 tsp dried herbs - we used rosemary, sage and parsley to season

salt & pepper to season

steamed veg to serve

Preheat your oven to 180degrees celcius. Coat the fatty side of your lamb racked with the crushed garlic, mustard and herbs. Season with a little salt and a fair whack of pepper.

Place on a lightly oiled baking dish and roast with potatoes for approximately 50minutes or until lamb is cooked to your liking.

Cover with foil and rest for 5minutes whilst your steam the veggies. Carve (taste test a piece whilst doing so) and serve with the cooking juices.

Optional: Beard for Movember & proposing to your partner.