Lovely beetroot & carrot fritters

Egg free, wheat free, nut free, gluten free (optional: dairy free)

A SHORT while ago I posted about the wonderful barbecue at my Mum’s house, where, for the first time ever, we were able to turn up with Sid in tow but NO FOOD.

This was huge. It never happens when you’re parent to a food allergy kid. But everything Mum made was suitable for Sidney to eat, and it was amazing. Amazing for us not to have to cart over our tupperwares of pre-prepared safe snacks, and amazing for Sid to pilfer from our plates for the first time in his little life.

These beetroot and carrot fritters went down well, and with the addition of a sprinkling of salt the adults tucked in happily, too. Continue reading “Lovely beetroot & carrot fritters”

Delicious salmon fishcakes

Egg free, nut free, wheat free, gluten free

These crispy fishcakes can be fashioned purely from salmon or with cod, haddock or whatever combination of flaky fish you fancy. I go for salmon just for a dose of omega-3 (especially given Sidney can’t eat other omega-3 rich stuff like nuts, seeds, beans etcetera).

I make them into flat patties and lightly fry them off for a lovely crispy golden brown coating. The following recipe makes a big batch of around 18 fishcakes, which I freeze for future use.

Basically, they’re another great finger food, delicious eaten hot or cold, and make a good hearty staple for a meal with some veg on the side.

Ingredients

2 fresh (de-boned) salmon fillets (around 460g)

Potatoes (3 or 4 medium-sized)

Whole organic milk

Dove’s Farm gluten free plain white flour

Black pepper to taste

Pure sunflower oil

Unsalted butter

Large saucepan

Frying pan

Bowl

Method

Place the salmon fillets in a single layer in a pan and just about cover them with cold milk. Heat gently and let simmer for 10 minutes, then take off the heat and let cool.

Lift the poached fish out of the saucepan, leaving the milk. Peel off and discard the skin, pop the fish in a bowl and flake it through very carefully with your fingers to ensure there are no bones.

In the meantime, boil the potatoes (around one third to half of the quantity of fish) and then mash using the remaining cooking milk. Add butter and more milk if necessary for nice stiff peaks of mash. Again, leave to cool.

In a bowl, add the potato to the fish and fork through gently, with a sprinkling of black pepper to taste.

Next, form small flattish patties from the mixture with your hands and dust lightly with Dove’s Farm gluten free flour – either sprinkle through a sieve or dip in a bowl of flour. Place in fridge to firm up.

When chilled, pop the fishcakes in a frying pan on a medium heat with enough sunflower oil to cover the bottom. Turn after three or four minutes and cook on both sides until golden. Remove from heat, place on kitchen towel to drain excess oil and serve.

To freeze for future use, fry only until a very pale golden colour, remove from heat, drain on paper then, when cooled, layer on baking paper in a foil tray and freeze. When needed, defrost overnight then fry in sunflower oil until piping hot. Drain, serve, bingo!

Tasty polenta sticks

Egg free, wheat free, nut free, soya free (optional: dairy free)

When I need something fast, filling and portable for Sidney to eat these polenta sticks are a dream. I concocted them when I was stumped for an alternative to the perfect packed lunch – sandwiches. With wheat, egg and possibly soya off the menu it’s nigh on impossible to find a suitable bread and I haven’t got round to perfecting a home-baked version yet. Oh, all right, I haven’t got round to trying at all.

But these take 15 minutes to prep, taste great straight from the grill and are just as good snatched from the fridge and eaten cold on the go.

As for what you mix into them, it’s your call. I go for fresh spinach, a bit of tomato and some grated cheese, but you could stir in a bolognese sauce, diced roasted veg or some little chunks of ham. Sidney likes to pick them up with his fingers two at a time and cram them both in his mouth at once. And I like to eat them piping hot, with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of rock salt.

Ingredients

Merchant Gourmet or Valsugana quick cook polenta (I’m sure there are other suitable brands out there but these are the ones I’ve found with no nut warnings and which cook up quickly and smoothly)

Olive oil and/or unsalted butter

Two handfuls finely chopped fresh spinach

Small handful of finely chopped fresh cherry tomatoes

Handful grated cheddar or parmesan

Whole milk

Small baking tray

Method

My method is more by eye than by measurement – because the polenta keeps well in the fridge it doesn’t matter if I make a bit more than usual; it’ll always get eaten.

Boil around two inches of water (or half and half water and whole milk) in the bottom of a pan. Slowly pour in the polenta, stirring all the time, until it thickens to smooth porridge consistency. Turn the heat down and let the polenta simmer. It needs to cook for around five to seven minutes on a very low flame, so if it starts to look too thick and gloopy (like an undiluted roux) add a little more water and milk to loosen and stir.

After two or three minutes add your handfuls of chopped tomatoes and spinach, stir well, and continue to cook for another two or three minutes before adding in the grated cheese. A knob of butter adds creaminess, too. When the polenta has been simmering for at least six or seven minutes, no longer tastes ‘grainy’ and separates when you stir it you can take it off the heat.

Pour the mixture into a small baking tray pre-greased with a little olive oil and smooth so that the polenta sits around one inch thick (alternatively you could pour into muffin trays for thicker, fatter polenta cakes).

Grill under a medium heat for 5-10 mins or until starting to brown nicely on top.

Remove from the grill and let the tray cool.

You can serve the polenta up straight away if you’re happy with a squidgy texture. Otherwise let it sit for half an hour then lever the polenta out by slicing down the middle and removing with a fish slice. Place on a plate and cut into inch-thick fingers.

Eat at once or let them cool completely and pop them in the fridge to store. They can be eaten cold or reheated by steaming gently, frying in a little olive oil or microwaving.