Friday, 29 November 2013

Spiced Warming Beef Wraps

As mentioned in my precious post I've suddenly developed some pretty severe food intolerances. All kinds of ingredients are now off the menu and it's meant adjusting my normal diet quite dramatically. As it gets colder I crave winter warmers - stews, soups and spice. Anything large, rustic and warming. I've recently found that Knorr Stock Pots are pretty much what you'd put in stock you would make yourself. No MSG which is a change as most have this nasty chemical in. They do contain maltodextrin which I don't know much about so I need to check that out. I also added a Bovril for additional depth of flavour. 

This is my healthier, allergy friendly take on spiced beef wraps wraps. I love using iceberg lettuce leaves instead of bread wraps or flat breads. I also made a mint yoghurt for the other people eating. 


500g of lean beef mince
1 onion, finely diced 
1 garlic clove, crushed 
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tin of tomatoes
1/2 tbsp tomato purée 
1 tsp Bovril
1 Stock Pot 
1/2 tin lentils 
Iceberg lettuce, leaves whole. 
1/2 cucumber, diced
100ml natural yoghurt (if you can have dairy)
A sprig of mint
A squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper

Serves 4

1. In a little oil sauté the lamb until browned and sealed, add the onion and continue to cook

2. Once the onions are golden add the garlic and spices and cook for a few minutes

3. Add the tomatoes, purée, Bovril, Stock Pot, lentils and seasoning and cook for about 30 minutes until the flavours have all melded together and the sauce has thickened 

4. Whilst it cooks select the best, large iceberg leaves and make a mint yoghurt (I just had the mint as dairy is off the menu for me) mix the yoghurt with fine,y chopped mint, a squeeze of lemon and seasoning. 

Too Tip: You can add a little crushed garlic if you wish but I find raw garlic a bit overpowering. A drizzle of garlic oil would be a good compromise. 

5. Allow people to make their own wraps up. Adding a spoonful of the beef mixture and a few cubes of cucumber to a lettuce leave and top with a little mint yoghurt. 


Cookie Christmas Tree Decorations

I've been pretty unwell for a while now and it seems to have triggered a miriad of severe food intolerances. As a result I've a new found respect for anyone dealing with limitations to their diet. I try to always find the positive in a situation so rather than focusing on what I can't have I've been focusing on what I can.

To start with this was more about creating enough meals from the very limited ingredients I could have to get by. Now I'm getting more used to it and given that Christmas is around the corner I decided it was time to get back baking in the kitchen. My scales were getting lonely! 

I love all things winter and spice I wanted to try and make some Christmas tree decorations that I could eat if I wished, intolerances and all! Sometimes 'free from' recipes look to unusual ingredients and substitutions which lead to a frankly odd result. Many standard recipes can be amended with a few of my favourite ingredients so relying on my favourite margarine, Stork (which is dairy free) and favourite gluten free flour, Doves Farm I set about creating a gluten free, dairy free biscuit that would be firm enough to hold up when hung from ribbon on the tree. I then added a touch of the warming spices of winter. The evocative smell of the biscuits whilst they were baking was just divine. They filled the kitchen with the smell of Christmas and warmed my soul. 

They look wonderful on the tree and would make a lovely present placed lovingly in a beautiful gift box!


400g gluten free flour
150g light soft brown sugar 
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice or all-spice. 
1.5tsp gluten free baking powder 
150g Stork margarine 
2 eggs

1. Start by thoroughly mixing together the flour, sugar, spices and baking powder. 

Top tip, if your soft brown sugar goes hard and lumpy either pop a slice of apple in to help it soften or warm in the microwave for a few seconds. 

2. Using your finger tips rub the Stork margarine into the dry ingredients to create a bread crumb texture. Alternatively the pulse function of your food processor will achieve the same result. 

3.  Mix in one egg at a time. If the mixture is a little dry add a splash of water. 

4. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/2cm deep and use your favourite cookie cutter cut out your shapes. I used this intricate snowflake cutter I picked up in a 20% off event at Marks and Spencer.  

5. Using a chopstick or small round object make a hole in each cookie so that once cooked you can thread ribbon through. 

6. Bake at 150C for about 20-22minutes until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

7. Once cool you can decorate them by piping Royal icing and using your choice of sprinkles however as my tree is fairly rustic and the cutter is already quite intricate I wanted to leave them plain. 

8. Using some fine ribbon carefully thread it through to make a loop to hang the decoration on the tree. Just make sure there high enough so that small children and pets aren't tempted! Unfortunately there isn't much you can do about the big people ;)