The last bank holiday of summer came and went in a burst of unexpected sunshine. Now it’s back to work, back to grey skies and rain. But for me at least there is some light at the end of the tunnel. And that tunnel isn’t really very long! I’m counting the days til we fly out to Spain, and I can barely wait!
In the interest of keeping myself in a sunshine state of mind, I thought I would share a couple of summer dishes, great for either an Indian summer (really crossing both my fingers and toes and hoping for this!) or just whacking the heating up and pretending that the outside world doesn’t exist! Both dishes are gluten free AND vegan! And because I am kind I’m going to share my favourite new supermarket superhero GF bread discovery…
This first recipe came about in Finland, when we were whiling away some lazy days at our friend’s summer place in Kirkkonummi we had the obligatory barbecue, and I needed to quickly throw together a vegetable dish to go with the salmon and the garlic cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped chestnut mushrooms. The mushrooms are our host’s speciality and are divine. Cheese, bacon and garlic are some kind of unholy trinity after all. And Salmon grilled over birch logs. I needed to figure something that would stand up to, and compliment them both.
Fortunately another friend had dropped over some home grown veggies and included some divinely fragrant basil. I got an idea…
Grilled peppers with fragrant basil
4 large bell peppers
1 bunch of fragrant fresh basil
Tsp chili flakes
Tsp garlic powder
1 large unwaxed lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Cut the peppers into quarters, remove the tops, seeds and membrane.
2. Toss the peppers in olive oil and add the chili flakes.
3. Grill the peppers, either over the barbecue, or if it is too rainy to brace the great outdoors then a grill pan will work just fine, on a high temperature.
4. Cook the peppers until the skins start to blister and darken, then remove from the heat.
5. While cooking the peppers, make the dressing. Mix the grated skin and juice of the lemon with an equal amount of extra virgin olive oil, add the garlic powder and season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk together with a fork.
6. Mix the peppers with the dressing and roughly tear the basil leaves through just before serving.
If you have any leftovers this is also great on some toasted bread, or sliced more finely as an antipasti style dish the next day! Mix up the pepper colours to keep the dish bright and bold, and always pick the most fragrant fresh basil!
The second is a riff on a delicious vegetable tapas dish I had at the wonderful all Lluna in Muswell Hill. If you’re in north London I absolutely recommend trying it out, the food is great, GF options are clearly marked on the menu and they have some great wines and cocktails too!
Purple sprouting broccoli with parsley, capers and red onion
12 stems of purple sprouting broccoli
Half a small red onion, very finely diced.
1 tbsp of capers, again finely chopped.
The juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp of finely chopped fresh parsley.
Extra virgin olive oil
Red pepper flakes
1. Finely chop the capers, onion and parsley.
2. Blanch the broccoli, so that it just changes colour a little but but doesn’t soften much.
3. Lay the broccoli on the serving plate, top with the parsley, onion and capers, drizzle over the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, season with sea salt, black pepper, and a pinch of the red pepper flakes.
This dish is super easy but relies on the broccoli being perfect, tenderstem will do just fine, as you can see from the original dish, if purple sprouting is unavailable. The key is to go for the slimmer stems, and make sure all the stems are of a roughly slimmer size so that they will cook evenly. This works well as a tapas dish, as an accompaniment to fish, or just outright on its own, although the portion would obviously require upping from 3 stems per person! Just add on the side a good bread…
And now for that bread of dreams that I was on about!
I love olive bread and have been missing it big time since having to give up gluten. For our anniversary I cooked up a tapas feast for the pet Finn and myself and included the broccoli dish. When I was hunting for ingredients l found the best gf olive bread I’ve ever had! And not only is it gluten free, it is also egg and dairy free and suitable for vegans! As gf vegans and those with multiple food allergies or intolerances will well know that the best of the gf breads often have egg or dairy in them… well done Tesco, their olive bloomer is a game changer! Although it is not perfect, the insides are still a touch sticky/heavy it is seriously good!
Generous on the delicious olives, and a really good crunch to the outside when it is baked! It’s the best gf accompaniment for Mediterranean inspired food I’ve found yet, I can’t recommend it enough, and even the pet Finn who usually eyes my gf bread with suspicion thought it was good enough not only to pass as a “normal” bread but as a very good one.
Not long until I get to escape for my holiday! Does anyone have any experience of finding great gf products in Spain, and especially Mallorca? I would love to hear about things to look out for.