Gluten-free Goats Cheese & Caramelised Onion Lasagne

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I was lucky enough to be able to source most of my ingredients fresh from the garden, all organic of course.

This is so delicious. Everyone at the dinner table could not believe that a gluten-free lasagne could taste so good, so, if you can be bothered with embarking on the mission that is preparing this meal then you will not regret it!

This recipe serves 6, but of course play about with the measurements depending on how many people you’re cooking for and what your personal preferences are.

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Note that the lasagne sheets need to be soaked in boiling water before you can lay them out in the lasagne dish. The sheets very annoyingly stick together so use plenty of olive oil and keep going back to make sure they are not sticking!

You will need:

12 glutafin lasagne sheets

For the main vegetable part:

(Choose whatever vegetables you like most for it, I just harvested whatever was ready in the garden to make it seasonal)

-6 Patty pan squash
-5 big leaves of Chard
-8 Tomatoes
-1 Onion
-6 cloves of Garlic
-1 gf vegetable stock cube
-1 tin of chopped tomatoes
-A generous squirt of tomato puree

Chop all the vegetables up and cook in a pan with olive oil, when the veg has all softened, add the can of chopped tomatoes, the tomato puree and the stock, leave to simmer for about 30 mins. Add the garlic about 20 mins in.

For the White Sauce:

-About 250g of hard goat’s cheese
-Soya/goats/cow’s milk
-A big chunk of butter (75g ish)
-A cup of flour

Melt the butter, add flour some at a time, whisking it in with the butter as you go, add more flour than a cup if the butter looks like it could take some more flour to become a very thick substance. Add in milk some at a time, each time stirring it in, the mixture should feel quite thick, keep adding milk until it is the desired consistency. Then add the cheese and stir until it has melted in.

For the caramelised onion:

-3 large red onions
-Honey

In a frying pan on a high heat, add the chopped onions to some hot olive oil and cook, when soft add as much honey as you like, mix it all up and keep stirring until the onions and honey go sticky and the onions a little brown.

To make the lasagne:

Spoon some of the main vegetable part into the bottom of a big deep oven dish. Add some white sauce and some caramelised onion, then smooth over. Put a layer of lasagne sheets over the top of this. Then continue to layer the vegetable mixture, the white sauce, the onion and the lasagne sheets until you get to the final layer of lasagne sheets. At the top, sprinkle over some grated cheese, also some sliced soft goats cheese if you like, and olive oil. Pop in the oven and cook for about 30 mins.

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Rick Stein’s Gluten Free Fish and Chips

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Rick Stein has a restaurant and take-away in Padstow and Falmouth, both in Cornwall. The fish is freshly supplied by local fishermen. On my visit, the staff were clued up about gluten-free and very accommodating of ceoliacs. If you’re planning a trip down to Cornwall and fancy a traditional fish and chips on the harbour overlooking the sea, accompanied by the sound of seagulls, then I would definitely recommend a trip to Rick Steins!

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Simple tomato and basil salad

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This is a nice and easy salad which is refreshing in the summer and a great side dish. It tastes especially good if the tomatoes and basil are organic and homegrown. But I might be biased 😉

Just cut the tomatoes into thin slices, then lay them out in a dish, cover with chopped fresh basil and then do another layer of tomatoes and basil for as many people as you’re feeding. Add some finely chopped red onion to spice it up.

For the dressing, I make a mix of olivie oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Make sure it’s well shaken up, you can use a jar to store it in or re-use an empty vinegar/olive oil bottle. I’m all about experimenting so just mix it up until it tastes right to you!

Buckwheat Chocolate Cake

My brother demanded I make him a birthday cake and I most certainly was not going to make one I couldn’t eat so here’s a delicious gluten free recipe that I came up with after going completely off piste from another recipe!

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The good thing about this GF cake is it’s made with naturally gluten free flours, buckwheat and ground almond, so you don’t even need to buy in special gluten free pretend flour mixes. Again, I tend to just throw things in the bowl and it usually works out really well but I tried to keep track of measurements so that I could share this recipe 🙂

So, you will need:

4 free range eggs
A big bar of organic fairtrade GF dark chocolate, seperated into squares
125g organic butter, diced
1 flat teaspoon GF baking powder
1/2 cup organic natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons honey (or however much you like!)
Handful of chopped dates
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar

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Heat oven to about 180 and get your tin ready by buttering it up.

Put the butter and chocolate into a bowl and simmer over a simmering pan of boiled water, to melt the chocolate and butter together.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar and yoghurt, add in the melted chocolate and butter, then add baking powder, honey, vanilla essence, ground almonds, buckwheat flour and dates. Once all this is whisked up together and a nice smooth cake mix, spoon it into the tin and cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes.

Stick a fork or thin knife in the check it’s cooked right through then leave to cool. Can add various toppings of your choice to make it more interesting.

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Sustainability, organic growing and coeliac

 © Jasmine Irving
© Jasmine Irving

For a coeliac, planning any group holidays, residential courses or even a meal out can be daunting. Panicked visions of potential cross contamination can rush into the head, alongside worries about being fed enough or if people will understand the severity of dunking a crumby knife in your butter. But recently, at embercombe, a community in Devon committed to inspiring action for a sustainable world, I learnt that coeliacs can be catered for successfully in a kitchen that cooks for big groups of people. Not only that, but it’s possible to feel cared for, valued and completely safe when it comes to breakfast, lunch and dinner in a new place. Hey, at embercombe, us gluten free folk even got to join in on tea time treats and pudding. Now, that was a welcome novelty.

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Catalyst is a 5 day residential course for people who want to push their boundaries and shape the future. Through a variety of challenges, group tasks, working with the land and 1 to 1 coaching, catalyst participants gain a truly valuable experience, embarking on an adventure that provides tools to carry throughout life’s peaks and dips. In a nurturing enivronment, participants are invited to develop the self-confidence needed to be authentic in a society that can seem so often to conflict with ethical and sustainable living. Catalyst encourages us to look after ourselves and each other. It’s important for everyone to be able to voice their needs, a skill especially relevent to coeliacs who will have to explain on many different occasions exactly what is needed for their well being.

Embercombe is host to this unique course. Personally, I have often felt a little sheepish about not knowing how to grow vegetables or not knowing how food got onto my plate. It’s actually one of the main reasons I’m vegetarian – alongside cutting my carbon footprint – because I couldn’t kill an animal so what right to I have to eat one? I want to learn how to be actively involved in the process that my food has to go through before becoming a meal for me to consume.

What I’m exploring is not taking food for granted and not treating it as just another commodity with no real value. I’ve always loved organic food but after being diagnosed coeliac, I developed an even greater appreciation for the abundance of fruits and vegetables that the earth provides. Each is naturally gluten free and full of nutrition. Getting to delve into what it’s like to be part of the growing and harvesting experience at embercombe, felt really special.

Sowing seeds was exciting, I could sense the joy of the potential this tiny seed had to grow and feed another living being. That’s something so small can sustain the life of a human being, or an animal, and then die to be fed back to the soil to create more life, is simply amazing. Beauty really is found in the everyday.

As we harvested onions and felt the earth crumble off their wiggly roots, we chatted about our surprise that such a simple act could be so exciting and enjoyable. Eating food fresh from the land makes for an appreciated dinner. In my time at embercombe, I didn’t take one morsel of food for granted and realised the connection between my vegetable soup and all that the ingredients had to go through to get to my bowl. Embercombe also has compost toilets, making the whole process of growing, eating and digesting back into the earth, a cyclical process, as nature intended.

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Normally in large groups, I sometimes end up being glutened in one way or another but I was happily surprised to be completely fine the whole week even in a kitchen that could be cooking for up to 120 people onsite. More than fine, in fact my digestion seemed to work better there than it has done in years! This really highlighted an important question that I am hoping to explore: Is sustainable living not only better for the environment, but also better for our own physical health, and emotional and spiritual wellbeing?

Amy, who runs the catering company in charge of the kitchen for Catalyst, managed to keep me safe, happy and well-fed the entire time without any problems. Upon arrival she checked in with me about my needs and kept communicating to ensure everything was okay and that I knew what I could eat. Most main meals were gluten free anyway and where not, there was always an equally delicious alternative. I was so impressed with the food and the care that was taken to cater for coeliacs. I felt included rather than the odd one out. And the absolute highlight? I got my very own wood fired not-touched-the-bottom-of-the-oven gluten free vegan pizza.

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I would love to find out more about similar projects across the world with a commitment to sustainability and community, who can also cater for coelaics, so please comment if you know of any or if you want to share your own experiences.

I’m about to make a WWOOF profile now to see where I can go to explore organic growing and sustainable living across the globe. So, watch this space, Coeliac By The Sea may well be transforming into Coeliac On The Road!

Links:

Catalyst Course http://www.catalystcourse.co.uk/

Embercombe takes WWOOFers and volunteers, to find out more visit http://www.embercombe.co.uk/

 © Jasmine Irving
© Jasmine Irving

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 © Jasmine Irving
© Jasmine Irving

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 © Jasmine Irving
© Jasmine Irving

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