So, after my adventures at Ballymaloe, there are several recipes and dishes that I want to try making gluten-free. I felt a little sad the day I made a beautiful silky sheet of ‘normal’ pasta, and watched as it obediently rolled through the pasta machine in ever thinner sheets that never cracked.
My first attempt at fresh gluten-free pasta is courtesy of River Cottage Gluten-Free cookbook. It did necessitate buying some specialist ingredients such as psyllium husk, but I costed the pasta at €1.60 to make enough for 2-3 people.
There’s some planning ahead needed, as you need to mix a starter 6-12 hours ahead (or 24 hours in the fridge), as well as resting the dough for at least an hour (or up to 24 hours) once made.
The making of the pasta was easy, but keeping it together when rolling out more of a challenge. The two floured sheets of cling film wasn’t the easiest to manipulate. I also found that it clumped together a bit when cooking. I think I’ll try to roll a bit more thinly next time and see how it goes.
It does taste good though- not too ‘heavy’. I paired my pasta with brocolli, broad beans (last year’s, thank you freezer), feta and parsley oil.
Conclusion: must try harder next time!
It’s a tough life being The Whimsical Bear at times! Last month, I got to go behind the scenes of ‘How to Cook Well’ with Rory O’Connell. Since his first series in 2015, I’ve heard so many people saying how much they enjoy watching Rory on TV. Even those with no interest in cooking tune in for his relaxed and calm delivery. Continue reading “Lights, Camera, Action”
Or, at least, a strawberry bed. I finally made some contribution to our allotment last Sunday by getting down on my knees and planting the strawberries- 66 plants to be precise. Eleven of my Ballymaloe plants survived, and were joined by 55 runners propagated from our own garden. Continue reading “Strawberry Fields”
A friend’s recent drop in afternoon provided the perfect opportunity to bake up something sweet, and not be eating it all myself! Or not bake, as in these no-bake caramel slices from the first ‘Happy Pear’ cookbook (or ‘millionaires’ squares’ as they are sometimes called).
Each layer is made separately, with setting time in fridge in between. At the pace I was going, each layer was nicely chilled just as soon as the next was ready. This healthier version features dates and oats in the biscuit layer, more dates and almond butter for the caramel (I used peanut butter with good results) and plenty good quality dark chocolate for the topping. Well, it is a treat after all!
The recipe advises it makes 16. I cut mine into 20. I reckon you could even divide into 24. They are definitely delicious and quite rich, and the peanut butter/date mixture is great caramel consistency. Most of the nibblers thought they were too big- until they took a first bite, and crept away quietly with their plates!
Gluten-free, vegetarian & vegan. Contains nuts.
I have a lovely omnibus edition of Jane Austen’s novels- a birthday present from my Mum a few years back, and I usually read one a year. I should say re-read, as I’m previously acquainted with all but ‘Lady Susan’. ‘Mansfield Park’ is apparently one of the less favoured novels, and I can understand why. Continue reading “Mansfield Park-Jane Austen”
Mr. WB tends to undertake a project during the winter when wet and windy weather means holiday time for gardeners. His projects tend to have a similar structure:
- Casually asking his wife ‘What would you think about X?’
- Long hours spent online researching X
- X appears
Continue reading “The New Arrival”
‘The day was beautiful, even under strip-lights. Outside birds sang, a new morning dawned, people lived and grew and got better and looked forward to getting older. I bought a coffee and ate an over-sweet muffin and they tasted like the most delicious things I had ever had.’
‘After You’ follows the story of Liz Clark, first brought to us in ‘Me Before You’, a book I enjoyed, even I did not weep copiously like all the reader reviewers mentioned in the end pages. Continue reading “After You-Jo Jo Moyes”
This is a consistent refrain of Ada’s, the eponymous ‘Dressmaker of Dachau’. Though not over-used, it did wear a little thin on me by the book’s end.
Mary Chamberlain takes us on a journey following Ada from the glamour of London & Paris through her experiences in the Second World War & afterwards. Ada dreams of escaping her humble working class origins being a couture designer with her own ‘House of Vaughan’, a journey which starts as an apprentice seamstress, but ends somewhat differently. Continue reading “The Dressmaker of Dachau- Mary Chamberlain”
Forget *’La-La Land’, I’m in Limbo Land at at the moment. Every day, I’ve been coming home wondering if today is the day that my Ballymaloe results will be sitting on the hall floor, waiting for me. It’s been over 10 weeks now, though it seems far longer.
Before I’d even settled back into ‘normal’ life, I spotted this on Instagram: the dining room, set up for the First Supper of the next group of students. It was like the first time you see your ex walking past with someone new. Continue reading “Limbo Land”
There are other blogs that will give you tips around Ballymaloe’s 12 week cookery course, such as the excellent Una Minh-Kavangh’s Spill the Beans or French Foodie in Dublin, but here’s The Whimsical Bear take. Continue reading “Twelve Week Tips”