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>Roasted Lamb with Potato, Onion and Tomato Gratin

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Serves 8-10

Ingredients

1              bone-in leg of lamb (1.5-2kg)
6              cloves garlic (1 split, the rest copped)
1kg          russet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1              tablespoon, fresh thyme
2              large onions, very thinly sliced
5              medium tomatoes (500g), cored and thinly sliced
2/3           cup dry white wine
1/3           cup olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 200C. Rub bottom of a large gratin dish with split garlic clove. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer.
Season with salt, pepper and some of the thyme and chopped garlic. Layer sliced onions on top; repeat the seasonings. Layer tomatoes on top and season with salt, pepper and remaining garlic and thyme.

Drizzle top with wine and then the oil. Trim thicker portions of fat from the leg of lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Place lamb on a sturdy cake or oven rack directly on top of the gratin dish. Roast, uncovered, for about 1 hour (for rare lamb).

Turn lamb every 15 minutes, basting with liquid from the dish underneath. Remove from oven and let lamb sit 20 minutes before carving.

To serve, carve lamb into thin slices and arrange on a serving platter, with vegetable gratin alongside.

Lamb Meatballs with Button Mushrooms Gluten Free

I love to use lamb mince as it takes on the flavours of the herbs, especially the garlic and rosemary. In my view better than beef or pork. Also it tends to have less fat in it than other minced meats.

This recipe is the same base as I use for my lamb paddies which is another old time favorite for me. People love to come for dinner when I am cooking either of these. They are basic to prepare but taste so good.

Ingredients

600          grams lean lamb mince
500          grams of Meadow small brown or white button mushrooms, whole
½            onion chopped finely
1              egg, lightly beaten
1/2           cup GF bread crumbs
1              tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1              tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
2              tablespoons grated carrot
1              tablespoon fresh chopped basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 -3          tablespoons olive oil
                3-4 cups of my Sicilian Tomato Sauce

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the oil and the mushrooms. Using your hands, mix throughout, but gently.  I use my thumb when I am mixing as it allows me to push the ingredients into the mix to make sure its all mixed evenly. Do not over mix.  Lightly oil the palms of the hands, and shape into medium sized, 2cm meatballs.

Pre-heat oven to 170C or turn slow cooker to low

Heat a medium sized frying pan large enough to hold the meatballs.  If this is not available, work in batches.  Sauté meatballs over medium-high heat, turning as you cook, to brown all sides.  When browned remove and place into a baking dish with the button mushrooms.

I use my Sicilian Tomato Sauce and cover the meatballs and mushrooms and bake in the oven for 1-1/2 hours. I do not like to cook these to fast

Slow Cooker Option

Once the meatball have been browned place in a slow cooker with the mushrooms and sauce and cook on low for 6-8 hours. The meatballs can be prepared the night before and just brown them off in the morning and into the slow cooker they go. You will come home to a house smelling like a Sicilian kitchen on a Sunday.

>Zucchini and Tomato Stringy Cheese Pie

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What you need

3 medium zucchini
Sea salt, as needed
4-5 cloves garlic, minced or diced finely
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
200 grams mozzarella, sliced thin so it can be layered. Best to slice when taken straight from the fridge
3 medium plum (Italian) tomatoes or 1 can of diced plum tomatoes
Fresh chopped basil, to taste
1 cup of Venerdi Gluten Free Bread Crumbs or your
favorite crumbs tossed in olive oil and Italian herbs

First preheat the oven to 175C.

Trim both ends of each zucchini. Cut them in half then slice lengthwise into thin flat strips about 3-5mm wide. Place in a colander and sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside for ten minutes or so to soak. Press with dry towels to extract some of the moisture.

In a 20cm, 8-inch pie plate (or gratin pan or baking dish) layer the zucchini strips in an overlapping pattern. Season with pepper and garlic.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil Then layer the mozzarella slices.

Slice the tomatoes about 5mm thick and place them on top of the mozzarella. Season the tomatoes with sea salt, pepper and basil.

Top with the Venerdi Gluten Free Bread Crumbs.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the zucchini is fork-tender and the topping is golden brown. Set aside for five minutes before cutting and serving.

>Stuffed Mushrooms

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Ingredients

8              flat mushrooms
1              small onion finely chopped
1-2           clove garlic chopped
olive oil
1/2           cup pine nuts lightly toasted
1/2           up chopped Italian parsley
1              tablespoons chopped oregano
120g        Brie cheese cut into 5mm cubes
Balsamic Vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Washed cabbage leaves
Directions

Preheat oven to 200 C. Remove stems from mushrooms and chop, sauté stems with onion
and garlic in olive oil until onion has softened. Add pine nuts, parsley and oregano and set aside to cool. Once cool, mix in cheese and season to taste.

Stuff mushroom caps with the filling and place in a lightly butter greases baking dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar and cover with oiled cabbage leaves.

Cook in the oven for 20 minutes and serve on cabbage leaves.

>Ratatouille Salad

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In our house we love the film Ratatouille and this is a great one to prepare when we know we are going to watch the film for the “I don’t know how many-ish time”. Like in the film, food should be about the taste and what tastes good to you.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1              small eggplant
2              medium tomatoes, chopped
1              medium zucchini, sliced thin
1              small onion, sliced
1              small green pepper, chopped
1/3           cup parsley

Basil Dressing

1/3           cup olive or vegetable oil
2              Tablespoonp. lemon juice
1              tsp. salt
½            tsp dried basil leaves
½            tsp. dry mustard
1/8           tsp. pepper

Directions

Wash eggplant and cut into ½ inch cubes. Add eggplant to boiling salted water . Cover and heat to boiling; reduce heat and boil for 5-8 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool.

Combine eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, onion, green pepper, and parsley. Add Basil dressing
and toss. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

>Eggplant Rollatine

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This is a very taste dish that is great as a main or as a side dish

Ingredients

1              500g eggplant
1              egg
1/4           cup milk
1              cup Gluten Free fresh bread crumbs
Olive oil
400ml       Italian tomato sauce
2              tsp. sugar
1/4           tsp. pepper
1              tsp. oregano
400g        Mozzarella cheese
1              cup Riccota

Directions

Cut eggplant ¼ inch thick, lengthwise. Combine and beat milk and egg. Dip eggplant in milk then dip and cover in bread crumbs. Place on a flat baking tray oiled with olive oil and grill on both sides for 6 minutes.

Combine ricotta, pepper, sugar, and oregano. Put 2 tablespoons of cheese mixture on each slice of eggplant and then roll up. Pour some of the tomato sauce into a baking dish. Place eggplants, seam side down, into the pan. Top with remaining sauce and bake at 160C for 30 minutes. Top with Mozzarella and melt.

>Eggplant with Zucchini and Rice

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As I have mentioned before Eggplant is a staple of Sicilian cooking. Some over there say that it even comes ahead of pasta.

During the Arab domination of Sicily (827-1060), agriculture was greatly developed and Rice was grow widely and it became a part of Sicilian cooking. It took over 300 years to move into the mainland and then expended throughout Europe.

When times were tough for many families the main meal of the day was rice cooked with no salt with a drizzle of olive oil to finish. This is a great low acid meal and was used when people were not well.

Adding golden fryed Eggplant to a simple boiled rice makes an easy dish to prepare and a wonderful meal by itself or as a salad to go with other mains.

Ingredients

250 gm boiled brown (long grain) rice. Cooked and then drained and cooled to room temperature
500 gm eggplant (about 1 medium eggplant)
3-4 smallish zucchini, halved down the centre, grilled, and then chopped into 10mm dices
1 tbsp capers, washed
¼ cup fresh mint
2 tbsp EV olive oil
Olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper to season
About 150-200gm of cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh basil chopped (optional) added to the zucchini when its being grilled
Salt and ground pepper to taste added to the zucchini when grilling as well as the Eggplant when its being fryed

Directions

Peel the eggplant and dice it into cubes then sprinkle with salt and let it stand for 30-45 min to let the bitterness drain away. Rinse in fresh water then pat the Eggplant cubes dry with paper towels.

You can cook the rice while the Eggplant is sitting and grill the zucchini.

Heat the oil in a fry pan and fry the eggplant over a medium heat, cooking till the Eggplant is golden in colour.
In a bowl, combine the rice, fried eggplant, mint, olive oil, cheery tomatoes and the capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.

>Gluten Free Fresh Pasta Recipe

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This recipe will take you about 20min to make. It’s a great GF substitute and being ½ Italian it meets my needs for a GF pasta that I can have whenever I want.

Ingredients
225g        amaranth flour
125g        tapioca flour
1              egg
1              Tablespoonp walnut Oil
1-2           tablespoons water

Directions

Sift together the flours into a large mixing bowl then make a well in the centre then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Cover with cling film and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Roll out thinly and form into whatever pasta shape your recipe calls for. Cook as you would for any fresh pasta in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.

>Gluten Free Plain Flour Mix

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This recipe works best if measured by volume rather than weight. Use the same measuring implement such as a teacup or mug to measure each ingredient. This also makes it easy to scale up, double or triple depending on what you need.

Ingredients:

2              part of white rice flour
1-1/2       part of potato starch
1              part of corn flour
1/3           part of potato flour

To try this initially make 1 part equal 1 cup.

2              cups of white rice flour
1-1/2       cups of potato starch
1              cup of corn flour
1/3           of a cup of potato flour

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Store in an airtight container and re-mix well before using.

>Gluten Free Pitta Dough Mix

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This recipe makes 8 and takes about 35 minutes to make.

Ingredients

2              eggs
240ml       cold water
1              level teaspoon gluten free baking powder
350g        gluten free flour mix  (from the recipe above)
50g          gluten free flour mix for rolling

Directions

Place the eggs, water and baking powder in a large bowl and beat until it becomes frothy.
Then you add the flour and mix to form a dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes, about 4-5min. You can now divide the mixture into 8 pieces and roll each portion thinly into an oval shape. Heat a heavy frying pan until hot then dry cook the pitas for 3-5 minutes, turning once. If you cover the pan during cooking they will come out softer.

Once cooked they can be reheated so if you are entertaining and they are part of the dinner, prepare a few hours in advance.

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