Xanthan & Xtras (sorry 😛 )
Come on… ‘X’ of the A-Z Alphabet Challenge was always going to be one of the difficult ones! 🙂 Only two more days then you won’t have to put up with my Xcruciating titles! 😛
Xanthan gum! Love it? Hate it? Never heard of it? Put it in everything? Avoid those recipes at all costs?
Firstly for those who are unaware, xanthan gum is a white powdered substance produced by fermenting glucose or sucrose using the bacteria Xanthomonas Campestris. This process which can be derived from corn, wheat or soy produces a slimy goo, which is then dried and ground to make the powder. Xanthan gum is both an emulsifier and a thickening agent and it is frequently used in gluten free baking to produce a stickier end result with less crumbs! I’m not entirely sure on my own opinion of xanthan gum yet! I’m aware that several respected gluten free companies state that its use is imperative… but I have successfully baked delicious gluten free goods without it! What do you think?
Xtras! I’ve been thinking of ways to spruce up those side dishes. They are so simple they don’t deserve a whole post to themselves but ‘X’tras seems ideal to show you a couple!
Baked cauliflower! I never really thought I was keen on cauliflower being much more a fan of broccoli. Maybe this has something to do with being a vegetarian in the (latter) 1980’s (OMGosh that makes me sound VERY old)! where the ONLY vegetarian food you were served in a restaurant was cauliflower cheese! I’ve nothing against cauliflower cheese and have made it probably hundreds of times myself especially with a roast dinner, but when I ate cauliflower plainly steamed it kind of lost its appeal! Sound familiar? Well, I’ve been playing with cauliflower and I’ve realised it is great for a whole host of things (including pizza bases) and this is my simplest recipe (but by no means the least delicious)!
Gather: However much cauliflower you want to eat! (I used half a medium sized one), paprika, salt, coriander, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, turmeric, tandoori spice mix (or other whole spice mix).
Prepare: Cut the cauliflower from the top of the head to the stalk so you end up with large flat segments about 1cm thick. Spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the spices over each piece in turn. Bake at Gas 4 (350f / 180c) for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!
Pepped up Greens! You know they’re good for you but I often find I’m thinking what can I do with them (apart from juice them!) I usually buy kale and spinach (baby spinach is my favourite and I just eat that raw) but this time I found a mixed bag of kale, spinach, pak choi and jagello nero! Anyway, this recipe will make your greens of any variety a bit more exciting!
Gather: 180g leafy greens rinsed, 1 onion sliced, 1/2 red chilli sliced, 100ml water, 1 tomato, 1/2 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, salt.
Prepare: Dry fry the onion and the chilli until sticking to the pan, then add a splash of water, repeat until the water is all used up. Add the greens and cook until wilted. Add the tomato on top of the greens and heat through, season to taste with salt and add sesame. Enjoy!