Fresh Gluten-Free Pasta: could it be?

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!


No-Bake Caramel Slices from ‘The Happy Pear’

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.

After You-Jo Jo Moyes

‘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”

The Dressmaker of Dachau- Mary Chamberlain

‘Ada Vaughan-modiste’

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”

Limbo Land

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”