Sunday, 28 August 2011

Guest Post: Stevie's Super Duper Gluten-Free Spag Bog

Since I've been on my last legs over the past few weeks, young Steven gallantly offered to do a recipe for you guys,which he surprised me with a few weeks ago but which I have only just got round to posting today. After 6 years of trying to feed a fussy and belligerent Coeliac he's pretty much a pro at gluten-free dinners, and his spag bog is no exception. Where my cooking and baking equipment is mostly pink, Steve's is all very fancy and comes from those locked cabinets they have in John Lewis. He has these Japanese knives that I daren't even look at it, let alone pick it up.
If your a veggie the beef mince can easily be swapped for Quorn mince with no ill effects to the recipe and the same can be said if you want to swap the beef for turkey which is lower in fat for anyone wanting a 'lite' version.
I hope you all enjoy the recipe, although don't you lot go liking his better than mine now!

Serves 6 or 4 very hungry people


  • 2 Medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 Celery sticks, finely diced
  • 1 Medium onion, finely diced
  • 6 Chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
  • 250g Mince beef
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar (Look for a g/f version)
  • 1 Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A small handful of dried mix herbs
  • A small bay leaf
  • 6 Handfuls of gluten free dried pasta (Doves Farm/Sainsbury's Free From/Dietary Specials)


  1. Finely dice the carrots, celery and onion.  Then gently heat a large saucepan on the hob, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  Add the three vegetables to the pan with a pinch of salt and slowly sweat them down for 5-10mins, you shouldn’t hear a hard frying noise just a gentle cooking.
  2. Now increase the heat and add the mince, season with a pinch of salt, pepper and stir until all the meat has browned.  Now add the balsamic vinegar (I just pour the vinegar for 4 seconds instead of measuring), it will hiss and make a lot of noise as it reduces.  Stir occasionally to coat everything.  You will hear a change in the cooking when you add the vinegar, when the noise returns to a frying one; you know it’s reduced enough.
  3. Now stir in the 3 cloves of crushed garlic (or finely chop if you don’t have a crusher) and cook for 1 min.  Then add the finely diced mushrooms, mixed dried herbs, bay leaf and tomatoes.  Then fill the empty tin with cold water from the tap and add that also, finish with a big pinch of salt, pepper and a thorough stir to mix everything up.
  4. Now turn the heat down to its lowest mark and leave on the hob for 1½-2 hours, stir every 30mins or so to stop it catching.  After that time it will have reduced considerably to a wonderfully smelling thick sauce.
  5. 10mins before the end cook your pasta in well salted water, when it has gone soft to the bite, drain and add to the sauce.  Stir in the pasta for 2mins, this allows it to absorb the maximum flavour and then serve.

Additional notes

If you want to add an extra depth of flavour, fry some smoked pancetta cube before step one, if you do this don’t add any salt or as much oil to the three vegetable as the pancetta is very salty and fatty.  Also it wouldn’t do any harm if you add a small glass of red wine when you add the tomatoes.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Channel 4 Food

If you follow me on twitter you will have probably seen me babbling on repeatedly about this over the weekend so I shan't hold it against you while you tune out the next few sentences!

So, very recently I was contacted by Channel 4 Food and asked if I would like to be featured on their blog about  gluten-free and allergy friendly food blogs and websites. Obviously I said yes (as if I'd say no!) and the feature went live last Friday, all very exciting non?

I use Channel 4 Food's website a lot so it was beyond exciting to be asked, but to be called witty (By CHANNEL 4 no less) almost made my head rotate at great speed a la Beetlejuice. It was also totally eye popping to be dubbed one of the best gluten-free blogs, as hard as I work and as many hours I put in on my blog, I never believed for a ruddy second that I was on a par with some of the other amazing gluten-free blogs out there so it was all very humbling.
Yet again I'm feeling so very grateful for the opportunities my blog has afforded me, especially after a slow couple of months recently where  the frequency of my posts have been concerned.
I just want to take a moment just to thank Becky and everyone at Dietary Specials for their support over the past year. They really are an awesome bunch and a great company, I'm not sure my blog would have got off the ground if it wasn't for them championing me from the start.
If you'd like to have a nosey at the Channel 4 feature click here there's 9 other brilliant blogs featured which all deserve a follow so go and peruse at your leisure.

On to even more shameless self promotion...

The Cosmo Blog Awards 2011 are coming up and it would be super duper ace if you could vote for me on their site under the category Health, Diet and Fitness.If I win (not very likely but still) I shall keep you all in cupcakes for a year, or failing that I'll dish out some hugs. Bet you can't resist now, eh?

Thanks for all the positive feedback from the Speedy Sides Feature, if you have any speedy side recipes you think would be suitable to be featured email me and let me know I'm always on the look-see for recipes, and don't be shy, I'm like a dopey Labrador and not in the least bit vicious. Have a fab week, it's almost hump day! (as in the middle of the week, not the other...).