Friday, 27 April 2012

Urban Appetite Cajun spiced BBQ Chicken Pizza

This is a very tasty pizza to make and great for a snack or make a few of them as a starter if you are having a people round.

BBQ Chicken Pieces

250 gm boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into 15mm cubes
3 Tbs. olive oil
125ml Wild Appetite Cajun spiced BBQ sauce (Gluten & Dairy free)

For the Pizza:

1 Venerdi Gluten free Thin Crust Pizza Base
1/2 cup Wild Appetite Cajun spiced BBQ sauce (a spicy−sweet sauce works best)
2 tbs. shredded smoked cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 small red onion, sliced into 3-4mm wide pieces
2 tbs. chopped fresh chopped fresh coriander

To make BBQ Chicken:

In a large frying pan, cook the chicken in olive oil over medium−high heat until just cooked, 5-6 minutes. Do not overcook.

Set aside in the refrigerator until chilled through. Once chilled place the cooked chicken in a zip-lock bag and add 125ml Wild Appetite Cajun spiced BBQ sauce, 3 tbs. olive oil, seal the bag and shake to coat the chicken evenly. Remove the chicken with tongs and reserve the sauce.

To make the pizza:

Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Use a large spoon to spread BBQ sauce from the bag evenly over the surface of the Venerdi Pizza base within the rim. Sprinkle smoked cheese over the sauce. Cover with 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella.

Distribute the chicken pieces evenly over the cheese. Place the pieces of red onion over the surface. Sprinkle an additional 1/4 cup mozzarella over the top of the pizza.

Transfer the pizza to the oven; bake until the crust is crisp and golden and the cheese at the center is bubbly, 8 to 10 minutes.

When the pizza is cooked, carefully remove it from the oven; sprinkle 2 tbs. chopped fresh chopped fresh coriander over the hot pizza. Slice and serve.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Prep to Plate In-Home Gluten Free Cooking Classes

Prep to Plate In-Home Gluten Free Cooking Classes

The Gluten Free Chef’s private in-home cooking classes are designed to offer you and your friends a great cooking experience learning from Jimmy how it is to cook Gluten free with taste - in your own home.

Classes are relaxed and designed to be fun. Jimmy loves a good laugh so you can expect your in-home cooking class to have smiles on everyone’s faces and not just from the great tasting foods that will be prepared.

The classes are all about cooking good food from scratch and helping each other to learn new things in the comfort of your own kitchen. 

Seasonal fresh ingredients are a big feature of Jimmy’s cooking and you can expect to sample wonderful tasting dishes that are achievable in your own kitchen.

How it works.

Class numbers range from 2 to 6 people and run for 3 ½ to 4 hours.

Classes offered by arrangement from Rotorua to Whangarei. Minimum class number outside of Auckland is 4.

Cost is $125 per person including food for the menu. (Additional food costs may apply if there are special requests)

  • The Gluten Free Chef will consult with you about your choice of class.
  • Design a dedicated menu of dishes in consultation with you.
  • Purchase all ingredients required for the day.
  • All recipes as well as lots of hints and tips are supplied in printed format.

On the day.

  • On the day of the class Jimmy will arrive with all the shopping done.
  • Meet and great the attendees. He starts with an outline of what will be happening and then its into the cooking including prepping the dishes with some hints and tips that will help you achieve wonderful results in your kitchen.
  • Dishes will be prepared in an order that allows samplings through the class. The class usually concludes with a relaxed sit-down meal.

Classes available are;

2012 Winter Classes

  • Entertaining Gluten Free
  • Stocks, Sauces and Soups (Includes slow cooker recipes)
  • Cooking For a Gluten Free Family
  • Budget Busters (Includes slow cooker recipes)
  • Italian, Sicilian & Southern Mediterranean
  • Vegetarian
  • Getting Tasty with Herbs & Spices
  • Cooking For Someone Within The Autism Spectrum 
  • Winter Warmers (Includes slow cooker recipes)
  • Gluten Free (GF) Basics and Stocking a GF Pantry
  • Cooking For One
  • Sunday Brunch (Usuallu held on a Sunday)
  • Blokes Can Cook
  • Dishes From The New Zealand Gluten Free Cookbook – Starting July 2012 (Additional $40 for a signed copy of Jimmy’s cookbook if people do not have their own copy)

Elements from all of the above choices and be mixed and matched to design a cooking class of your own choice.

For more information call Jimmy on 021 869 910 or e mail 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Mixing and Storing Herbs and Spices

Mixing and Storing Herbs and Spices

Dried herbs are stronger in flavour than fresh leaf herbs. To convert dry to fresh measurements, use approximately 3 tablespoons fresh to each tablespoon dry. In most cases use 1/3 to ¼ the amount of dried herbs as is called for fresh. In general ¼ teaspoon of spice is enough for 4 servings.

Mixing Herbs - when seasoning with herbs and spices try to complement your dish by not overwhelming the flavour of the food. Cooking spices for too long may result in overly strong flavours.

For long-cooking dishes, such as soups and stews add herbs and spices an hour or less before serving. For best results try crushing the herbs before adding to your dish. For shorter cooking-dishes try adding dry spices earlier in cooking. Fresh spices and herbs should be added towards the end of cooking.

Unless the recipe specifically calls for it, don't use more than three herbs and spices in any one dish. The exception to this rule is East Indian cooking, which often calls for 10 or more different spices in one curry dish.

Try replacing herbs and spices called for in recipes with something different - such as Marjoram instead of Oregano, Savory instead of Thyme, C
oriander (Cilantro) instead of Parsley, Anise seed instead of Fennel. Mixing herbs and spices will provide you with greater creativity in food preparation by allowing you to create a variety of exciting and uniquely seasoned dishes. You may just create a recipe that will be one of a kind, beloved by everyone. 

Storing Herbs - store spices in a cool, dark, dry place. Heat, humidity, and excessive light will result in the dry herbs and spices losing their flavour more quickly. A good way to store herbs and spices is in small, airtight glass containers. If stored properly, dried herbs and ground spices will retain their flavour for a year. Whole spices may last for 3 to 5 years. To keep larger quantities of herbs and spices fresh, store them in tightly sealed containers in the freezer.

Do not store dry herbs and spices near any humid source, such as sinks, dishwashers, kettles, coffee makers, on counter tops, stoves or microwaves. Avoid storing dry herbs and spices inside the refrigerator due to the high humid environment. Avoid storing near heat sources such as stoves, top of microwaves and refrigerators. For best results grind whole spices in a grinder or mortar & pestle. If you want to enhance the whole spice flavour, try roasting the whole spice in a dry skillet over a medium heat, being careful not to burn them.

Drying Herbs - try drying herbs on racks, slats or upside down by their stems. For best drying, place your herbs in a well ventilated, dry, cool environment. Ensure that you have plenty of air space and turn every few days. Another alternative to drying is using the microwave by laying the herbs out on absorbent paper and cooking on low for 3 minutes. A dehydrator is also another excellent option.

Harvesting Herbs - the best time to pick the leaves or flower buds is when they start to unfurl. Try to harvest your herbs early in the day and before noon at the latest, as the herbs are most potent then. Seeds must be collected when they turn brown and brittle. Never pick herbs in wet or humid conditions.

Vegetable Freezing Autumn Harvest

Vegetable Freezing

Autumn is here and for many people its harvest time and as Autumn gets into full swing there lots of vegetables to be saved. 

Successful freezing depends on how quickly you can reduce the temperature of the food. Slow freezing may not make the food inedible but will affect flavour and, more importantly, nutritional value. Fast freezing halts bacterial growth instantly and produces very small ice crystals, which causes less damage to the cell structure of the food.
Before you commence preparing food for freezing you should turn your freezer on to its super or fast setting – preferably 3 hours or so before. This just keeps the motor running and drops the temperature as low as possible. When the food goes into the freezer it will cause the temperature to rise as the food cools. The super setting ensures the food already there remains at optimum temperature and the food being frozen cools as quickly as possible.

Do not try to freeze too much in one go – never more than 10% of the freezer capacity at a time.Also, the colder the food when it goes into the freezer, the less work the freezer has to do.

Vegetable Freezing Outline

Blanching time is in boiling water. Unless otherwise noted, chilling time in ice water should be the same as blanching time.
Blanching Time/ Chilling Time
Wash and sort stalks according to size, discarding blemished stalks. Break off ends. Stalks may be left whole or cut into 30-50mm long pieces.
average diameter stalks - 3 minutes thicker stalks - 4 minutes.
Green Beans
Snap off tips. Rinse, then cut or break into desired sizes or freeze smaller beans whole.
3-1/2 minutes.
Italian Snap Beans
Wash, snap off ends and slice into 1" to 1-1/2" pieces.
3-1/2 minutes.
For young, tender beets-
Remove tops and cook until tender. Chill, then remove skins. Leave small beets whole. For medium to large beets, slice or cut into pieces. Pack into freezer boxes or bags.
not applicable
Remove leaves and tough ends. Cut through stalks lengthwise, leaving stems with 1" to 1-1/2" diameter heads, or cut into pieces. Soak in salt water (2 tablespoons salt to 1 quart water) to remove any insects and larvae. Rinse with tap water and drain.
pieces - 4 minutes
stems - 5 minutes.
Brussels Sprouts
Wash and trim any tough outer leaves. Soak in salt water (2 tablespoons salt to 1 quart water) to remove any insects and larvae. Rinse with tap water and drain.
medium sprouts - 4 minutes
large sprouts - 5 minutes.
Remove tops, peel, and wash. Cut into 1/4" thick slices.
3-1/2 minutes.
Remove leaves, trim and wash. Split into individual 1" to 1-1/2" pieces. Soak in salt water (2 tablespoons salt to 1 quart water) to remove any insects and larvae. Rinse with tap water and drain.
4 minutes.
Husk, remove silk and trim off ends. Blanch in a large stockpot with 10 - 12 quarts of boiling water.
24 small ears, under 1-1/4" diameter - 8 minutes
14 medium ears, 1-1/4" to 1-1/2" diameter - 8 minutes
10 large ears, over 1-1/2" diameter - 11 minutes
Chilling time in ice water should be twice as long as blanching time
Corn - Cut from cob
Husk, remove silk and trim off ends. Use a corn cob cutter or a curved grapefruit knife to remove kernels from cob.
4-1/2 minutes
Remove tops, wash, peel and cut into 1/2" cubes.
2-1/2 minutes.
Wash and remove stems. Freeze smaller mushrooms whole
Cut medium and large mushrooms into 1/4" slices.
To prevent browning, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart of blanching water.
small whole mushrooms - 4 minutes
sliced mushrooms - 3 minutes.
Chopped onions can be packed and frozen without blanching To freeze larger pieces of onions or small whole onions - Peel onions, wash, and cut into quarter sections (except very small whole onions).
1-1/2 minutes
Green Peas, shelled
Wash and shell peas.
1-1/2 to 2 minutes
Sugar Peas or Edible Pod Peas
Wash; Remove stems and blossom ends; Leave whole.
2-1/2 to 3 minutes
Chopped bell peppers can be packed and frozen without blanching.
For pepper halves or slices...Wash, remove stem and seeds. Cut in halves or slices
halves - 3 minutes
slices - 2 minutes.
Cut; scoop out seeds; peel; and cut into pieces. Bake or steam until tender. Cool, then strain in a ricer, food mill or process in a food processor until smooth. Pack into containers and freeze.
not applicable
Sort; remove any blemished leaves and tough stems; Wash.
1-1/2 to 2 minutes
Select 5" to 7" long, tender zucchini. Wash, peel and cut into 1/4" to 1/2" slices.
1/4" slices - 3 minutes
1/2" slices - 4 minutes

Friday, 20 April 2012

Balsamic Onion Marmalade

I love the taste of sweet caramelized onions. I also introduce a tang to the sweetness by adding some balsamic vinegar.

Makes about 2 cups (500ml).

1 tbsp olive oil
1 dsp butter
4 large onions, thinly sliced (cut onions in ½ then cut into thin slices. What I call ½ rings)
3 cloves garlic diced fine
½ tsp dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 tsp mustard seed (lightly ground in a mortar to crack the seeds)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan (I use my Dutch oven) over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the butter first to the oil then the onions, garlic, mustard seeds, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes until the onions are nice and soft. I use plenty of salt as it helps lift the moisture from the onions.

Once the onions are soft add the sugar and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook stirring frequently for about 10 minutes until onions appear dry.

Add vinegar and bay leaves and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until onions are soft and almost dry. 

Remove the bay leaves and serve warm or at room temperature. You can bottle in warmed jars and store in the fridge for 4-6 weeks.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Gluten Free Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is a Russian dish of sautéed pieces of beef served in a white wine sauce with sour cream. 

From its origins in 19th-century Russia, it has become popular around the world, with considerable variation from the original recipe. 

I use rump steak or topside steak and love this as a Winter warmer.

1 ½ kg          rump steak diced into 25mm (1 inch) cubes
1/2 cup         Gluten free general flour mix
2 tsp            salt
1/8 tsp          fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp          dry mustard
2 med           onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
200g             fresh sliced button mushrooms
1 cup            beef stock (I use 2 tsp of Tastes Divine beef stock mixed into 1 cup of water)
½ cup           dry white wine, optional
1 1/2            cups sour cream
1/4               cup Gluten free general flour mix

Trim most of the fat from steak and cut (dice) into 25mm cubes. Combine 1/2 cup flour, the salt, pepper and dry mustard in a plastic bad, add the dices rump steak and toss to coat thoroughly. Place coated, diced steak in Crock Pot and stir in onion rings and mushrooms.
Add beef stock and wine and stir well. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours. Before serving, combine sour cream with 1/4 cup flour and stir into slow cooker. Serve stroganoff with hot cooked rice or a creamy mash.

Follow Jimmy Boswell - Gluten Free Chef on Facebook for more exciting recipes

Italian Slow Cooker Beef Stew

This is an adaptation of a family recipe that I grew up with. 

It is made with tomatoes, potatoes, onion soup mix, and garlic, along with other seasonings and vegetables.

The herb mix is what gives this slow cooker recipe that "Italian Taste" and will impress family and friends.

1 ½ kg          lean dices (25mm 1 inch) cubes of Beef Bolar or Topside roast
(trim any visible fat)
1 400g can    Italian (Roma) diced tomatoes
1 medium       onion, chopped
1 cup            dices celery
2                  large carrots, peeled and chopped into 15mm pieces
2                  medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
1 pkg            dry onion soup mix (Gluten free if required)
1 clove          garlic, peeled and crushed
2                  bay leafs
1 tsp            dry oregano
½ tsp           dry rosemary
1 tsp            dry thyme
1/2 tsp          ground black pepper
salt to taste if desired after cooking

Add beef cubes and other ingredients except the canned tomato and herbs into your slow cooker bowl. Top with canned tomato and herbs, stir and cook on low 8-10 hours or until tender. Remove bay leaf before serving.

I serve either in a bowl with fresh breads (Gluten free if required) or plated with seasonal fresh greens with rice or Kumara and potato mash with fresh chopped parsley on top.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Cooking and Baking Gluten Free – What Do I Do? 
By Jimmy Boswell – The Gluten Free Chef

Development Chef for The Gluten Free Store

Cooking and baking Gluten free can sometimes be a daunting task when you're new to Gluten free living. Having at adopt a GF diet is not as bad as many people think and with some insight it can be fun, I love my Gluten free life.

Some common questions that people are always asking are;
What flours and ingredients can I use? 

How can I bake a gluten free dish without it tasting like cardboard? 

How do I get that nice 'chewy' texture without using wheat flour?

Here are a few hints about GF flours to assist in your baking and cooking.

First I have to say that the key to successful gluten free baking is using a combination of flour and starches. Ingredient lists might look long, but once you have a pantry stocked with a good supply of flours, baking will be easy and fun. 

Each flour/starch has a distinct taste and character, they are sometimes not interchangeable so if you are following someone’s recipe it should be followed to a tee to ensure a great end result.

Rice flours are the closest to wheat flour in behaviour. They are made from either white or brown rice, and each has its own characteristics. Try it in gingerbread brownies or carrot cupcakes.

Amaranth Flour has a pleasant, nutty taste and has great nutritional value, 15% protein and good balance of amino acids. It is high in fibre, iron, calcium and phosphorus. It combines well with other flours to make good tasting bread, muffins, pasta, cookies, gravies, sauces and more.  To increase the protein content of baked goods substitute about 10-15% amaranth flour for the flour stated in a recipe.

hickpea Flour (Gram flour) is a cereal flour made from ground chickpeas. It is also known as garbanzo flour, or besan.  It contains a high proportion of carbohydrates. Mixed with an equal proportion of water, it can be used as an egg-replacer in vegan cooking. It is pale yellow and powdery and has an earthy flavour best suited to savoury dishes.

Millet Flour Millet Flour has a subtle flavor, lots of vitamins and minerals, and adds a lovely creamy color to baked goods.  Millet flour, which has light yellow color similar to cornmeal, is an option that provides a buttery flavor.It contains high levels of two essential amino acids (proteins), methionine and cysteine. Our bodies need adequate supplies of all of the essential amino acids for growth and cellular repair. Most grains, including rice, corn, wheat and sorghum have low levels of these two important proteins.

Chestnut Flour Italians have gathered chestnuts for centuries, dried them and made flour and It's still a staple in the diets of many. While it not cheap I value thos flour very highly. I use it in cakes, pancakes, pastry, porridge, or to thicken soups.

Quinoa flour (pronounced keen-wa) is composed of 10 to 18% of protein, 69% of carbohydrates and 6% of oil. Quinoa flour is the most interesting substitute to wheat flour. Besides its high nutritional value, the quinoa flour is used in a wide range of baking and pan-fried dishes. In a proportion 2/3 quinoa flour, 1/3 rice flour it is possible to bake cakes such as chocolate fudge cake.

Sorghum Flour is a wholesome, hearty grain that possesses a mild flavor that won’t compete with the delicate flavors in other food ingredients. Sorghum improves the texture of recipes and digests more slowly with a lower glycemic index, so it sticks with you a bit longer than other flour or flour substitutes. This makes it a great healthy substitution for more traditional flours. 

Buckwheat flour  has a rich, nutty flavor and a very high nutritional value and is also high in fibre. I use it in pancakes, waffles, noodles, breads and cakes.

Sorghum flour adds texture and flavour to multi-grain bread recipes.

Cornstarch and tapioca starch add a pleasant fluffy texture. However, too much starch can make baked goods hard and heavy.

Xanthan gum is a corn-based product that is used in gluten-free recipes to replicate the 'chewy' texture of wheat flour. It makes a remarkable difference in your baking and a little bit goes a long way!

Where to get these flours?

Sometimes we just don't have the time to run around town looking for flours and starches! The Gluten Free Store has a wide range of flours, starches, gums and spices. The flours come in 1kg, 5kg, 10kg and 25kg bags.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Gluten Free Pork Fillet with Urban Appetite Balsamic & Lime Glaze

This recipe is quick and easy to do and tastes great. Of all of the meat fillet cuts Pork Fillet (tenderloin) is usually the cheapest and glazing it with Balsamic & Lime Glaze gives you a tasty pork roast that’s great to entertain your guests with.

750g Pork Fillet (whole)
Salt & fresh ground pepper to season
½ cup Urban Appetite Balsamic & Lime Glaze

Preheat oven to 175°C

Rinse the pork fillet under cool running water. Pat dry with paper towels and trim off any excess fat. Season the fillet with salt and pepper.

Place a large fry-pan over a medium-high heat and place the pork fillet in fry-pan. Sear each side of the fillet completely browning the entire surface.

Reduce the heat to low and pour the Urban Balsamic & Lime Glaze all over the pork fillet. Turn the fillet to get an even coating all over the pork. Once this is done place pork in a roasting pan, pour over the juices and roast for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes remove pork from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Drizzle any pan juices over top of the sliced pork and serve with fresh seasonal vegetables and roast potatoes.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Jimmy’s Stuffed Eggs

Jimmy's Stuffed Eggs
I love to make this recipe when I am entertaining. Its quite easy to do and always looks great plated and served with other starters.

I use SPCA Blue Tick eggs and by using Blue Tick approved eggs I know that I am getting the best quality of eggs that have been ethicly farmed.

6 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 tsp lime juice
2 tsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 c Gluten free mayonnaise
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika, plus more for garnish
1/8 tsp chilli powder
1 clove garlic, minced
salt to taste


Scoop the yolks out from the eggs into a bowl and mash until smooth. Add in the lime juice, coriander, mustard, mayonnaise, ground cumin, smoked paprika, chilli powder, and garlic and mix until well combined. Taste and add the salt and adjust seasonings.

Scoop or pipe the mixture into the halved eggs and sprinkle with additional smoked paprika.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Gluten Free Made Easy - Neville & Judy Green

Eaten right after taking the photo, very yummy

Gluten Free Made Easy 
Neville & Judy Green

Popped into see Judy from Gluten Free Made Easy yesterday and she had some great ‘takeaways’ for us. Its been such a long since I have had a Hot Cross Bun and I have lots to munch on today, thanks Judy.

When we got there Judy was busy cooking and she had a fresh batch of Hot Cross Buns ready to be sampled. Well, what can I say, they were ‘yummy’. I didn’t expect anything else.

Neville showing the Gluten Free French Sticks
he and Judy made last month at the meeting of the
North Shore Coeliac Support Group
Neville and Judy Green are experts in baking Gluten free and run fun and informative Gluten free cooking classes in Pukekohe. The venue being in their home offers a very relaxed place to learn and pick up many great tips to assist your Gluten free cooking.

With over 10 years working with Gluten free flours they have perfected so many great recipes. In their cooking/baking classes they will show you many great recipes and you will take home lots of information and a full belly.

I recommend their classes. Their teaching style is fun and their passion is to help people understand how to bake great tasting Gluten free baked basics as well as treats.

They have two classes this month

Gluten Free Made Easy Cooking Classes.
April 14th & 28th - 9am to 2pm
Contact Neville or Judy - 09 238 0610 or 021 395593