Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Brown Bread Baguette - with perfect gluten free crumb (and a fantastic shelf-life) also nut free; soy free; rice free


I have been working on this gluten free Brown Bread Baguette recipe for a while. I wanted it to be as good as I could get before I shared it with you.

Since starting the Gluten Free Alchemist blog, bread has become a bit of an obsession for me. Really good gluten free bread can be a little elusive...... often dry, hard and crumbly and inedibly stale within 24 hours. Although gluten free bread has come a long way in the last five years and commercial loaves are unrecognisable from the hard bricks that pretended to be bread and required 'refreshing' to eat.... (need I say more?), even in recent weeks I have been fed 'good' commercial bread which has required a gulp of water with every mouthful in order to swallow..... the texture has been that dry.


Even being gluten free, that can't be right. So whilst I do buy the odd 'off the shelf' loaf here and there (the new Tesco artisan loaves are pretty good and Genius bread is still up there for a reasonable sandwich), for the most part, I still home-bake most of the bread we eat. I just think we deserve better.... and so do you!


In the last 5 years, the bread I bake at home has also come a long, long way, as I have discovered and experimented with new flours and been taught tips and tricks to add structure, body and moisture. Loaves that at the time I thought were amazing have been surpassed time and time again..... I am constantly looking for perfection and believe me, I have very high standards. It is only after making this baguette dozens of times that I have brought it confidently to your table too....


This is a bread-baguette that is soft and tender of crumb, yet appropriately springy in texture, with a delicate doughy-chew. Made with a combination of wholegrain (teff, sorghum, buckwheat and oat) flours, balanced with white (tapioca, potato and corn-starch) flours, it is as nutritionally-rich as it is delicious.

Whilst it is not crazily crusty on the outside, it is nonetheless robust both in its ability to hold together when cut, filled and eaten on the go, through to its amazing 'shelf-life'..... staying soft-fresh for several days. It is delicious with both savoury and sweet fillings and is divine slathered with butter..... Actually it is quite addictive..... This batch makes up to 4 slightly shorter baguette-loaves, but I challenge you to make them last....


Mr GF is more than a little impressed and another close friend of mine (a firm gluten-eater and home bread-maker) was genuinely shocked at how good this bread is..... If you don't believe me, you'll just have to try making some yourself! Although you may be looking down that list of flours thinking 'nah... too complicated...', I promise you that once you have the flours in your house, whipping up a few baguettes really won't take any time at all.... especially if you mix up the dry ingredients ahead of time when you have a spare moment. I have kept the dry mix ready for a good week before now and it has still worked without a hitch.

Either way, I make no apology for the mix of flours this baguette contains..... If you want fantastic bread, sometimes you have to get a bit creative..... and this is fantastic bread..... look at that crumb. It screams 'eat me'!


Not only am I sharing this recipe with my lovely readers, but I am also sending over to :


Cook Blog Share with Everyday Healthy Recipes

Free From Fridays with Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel









Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too







Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Fiesta Friday #177



A few of the other gluten free bread recipes on Gluten Free Alchemist :
Brown Bread-Maker Bread
Beautiful Bread Bouquet - Oat, Teff & Millet Bread
Brown Bread - Revolutionary Loaf
Brown Bread/Loaves with Doves Farm Brown Bread Flour
White Bread Rolls - gluten, dairy and yeast free 
Perfectly Fluffy Gluten Free Oat Bread
Pumpkin Seed and Sunflower Seed Bread (gluten & dairy free)
Pandebonos (South American Cheese Bread)




Brown Bread Baguette (makes 4 shorter or 3 long baguette loaves. Or you can make delicious mini-rolls using mini-loaf tins/non-stick muffin tins)


Ingredients

Dry Mix :
65g sorghum flour
30g white teff flour
30g buckwheat flour
90g tapioca flour
50g potato flour
45g cornflour (starch)
100g GF oat flour
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4.5g vegegel or 7g gelatine
3 tablespoons milk powder
8g easy bake yeast (I used Allison)

Wet Mix :
1 tablespoon runny/clear honey
3 large eggs - room temperature
370g warm water at 46 C/115F

1½ teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 egg mixed with a little milk - beaten together
sesame or other seeds to decorate

Method

  1. Pre-prepare a baguette tin (I have two of these with two baguette 'dips' each) by cutting baking paper sheets the length of each strip and folding lengthways to make a crease. The paper only needs to be a little higher than the edges of the tin, so I always cut a wide strip of paper and then cut in half lengthways, before folding.
  2. Weigh and mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large airtight container and shake vigorously to blend and break down any lumps (you can do this ahead of time).
  3. In a large bowl, beat (with a hand whisk) the honey, eggs and warm water at 46 C/115 F, until light and airy.
  4. Once blended, immediately add the lemon juice and sunflower oil and the dry mix and using either a dough hook on an electric beater or a wooden spoon, beat the ingredients together for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, pale, well-blended thick dough-batter (thick dropping consistency).
  5. Divide the batter equally between the paper strips on a flat work surface and then smooth to baguette-shape along the fold line.
  6. Carefully lift the uncooked baguettes onto the baguette tray.
  7. Use a wet knife to smooth the tops and then make a series of diagonal line indents along the loaf at about 6 cm/2½ inch intervals. 
  8. Put in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes (until more or less doubled in size).
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  10. Once risen, gently brush the tops of the baguettes with egg-milk wash and sprinkle with seeds if using.
  11. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden and firm.
  12. Remove from the oven and leave to cook on the tray for about 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  13. Enjoy warm or cold.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Quick & Easy Pizza Galette with Jus-Rol ready-rolled gluten free puff pastry and a FREE invite to this year's London ALLERGY & FREE FROM SHOW in July


Bored of bog-standard Pizza? Try a Pizza Galette instead! They say a change is as good as a rest and I'm sold on this one for sure....

If you read my last post which introduced Spanakopita Galette, you will know that whilst it was a whopping hit with me and Mr GF, Miss GF was not best impressed with the thought that we might feed her spinach and Feta cheese...... Frankly I can't explain it..... it is one of my all time favourite combos, but there's no explanation for the likes and dislikes of 11 year old girls.

In an effort to include her in our galette feast, Miss GF settled on an alternative filling which started off as sausage and ended up as sausage pizza...... Good choice! I managed to snaffle a couple of slithers when she wasn't looking and can confirm that it was delicious hot and equally delicious cold.

The Pizza Galette is made (as was the Spanakopita Galette) with Jus-Rol gluten free ready-rolled puff pastry. Although you may have to hunt it down (larger Tesco's and Ocado are good bets), it is perfect when you want to throw together a really quick meal. No word of a lie..... once the sausages were cooked (ahead of time) and the cheese was grated, this galette literally took 10 minutes to assemble, before introducing it to the oven.


Although I do most of my own baking (including bread and pastry), like any other busy, working mum, I love to find products to make life easier and I go on major supermarket hunts to seek to try anything new. Every year I head up to London for the Allergy and Free From Show, which is the perfect place to find up-and-coming mainstream free from products, as well as the most amazingly innovative niche, artisan and small-producer products (like the wonderful, award-winning gluten and rice free, wholegrain Free From Fairy Flour, produced by Vicki over at the Free From Fairy).

This year the Allergy and Free From Show is being held at Olympia between the 6th and 8th July..... I'll be there, like a kid in a toy shop, tasting everything I can.


If you've never been, you really should make the effort to get there.... To make it even easier for you, the good people from the show are offering you tickets which you can download through this link HERE to get you through the door FREE. Yep..... you read it right.... Free tickets (normally £10 each)

So what are you waiting for? Grab those tickets and make your plans...... We'll see you there!

I am sharing this post with


Free From Fridays with Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel


Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum





Cook Blog Share with Recipes Made Easy


Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too



Quick & Easy Pizza Galette 

Ingredients

1 pack (280g) Jus Rol gluten free ready-rolled puff pastry (or any alternative pastry of choice)
12 mini sausages (gluten free) - cooked
half an onion - finely sliced
a couple of handfuls grated mature cheddar cheese
a couple of handfuls ready grated Mozzarella (pizza) cheese
3 to 4 tablespoons tomato puree (not Passata)
large handful sweetcorn kernels (fresh or frozen)
seasoning to taste (salt, pepper and oregano/basil)
milk to seal the pastry and as a milk wash

Method

  1. Prepare your sausages ahead of time - cooking by your usual method. Set aside to cool.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
  3. Lay out the round of Jus Rol pastry on a sheet of baking paper (or if you are using home made puff, or an alternative pre-made brand, roll out and cut a circle approximately 30 cm/12 inches in diameter).
  4. Spoon/squeeze the tomato puree across the base of the pastry round and spread into a circle leaving a clean pastry edge of approximately 5 cm/2 inches wide.
  5. Sprinkle a layer of cheddar cheese on top of the tomato puree.
  6. Arrange the sliced onion and sausages on the top of the cheese. 
  7. Top with scattered sweetcorn and seasoning and some Mozzarella cheese.
  8. Brush the pastry edge with milk and using a sharp knife, make slightly angled cuts to about two-thirds the width of the pastry strip at intervals of about 7 cm/2½ inches.
  9. One at a time, fold the pastry strips up over the edge of the filling, brushing each top with milk as you go and then folding up the next strip, sticking and sealing to the last. Keep going until you have folded pastry around the whole pie. On the last piece, carefully lift the first piece and fold the last underneath (ensuring you brush with milk) and press to seal to each side as an even pattern.
  10. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes on a piece of baking paper on a baking tray, until the pastry is golden, puffed and crisp.
  11. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer to a serving plate. Eat hot or cold.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Spanakopita Galette - gluten free (vegetarian)


Meet my savoury gluten free Spanakopita Galette. It shouts 'Summer'! Galette's seem to be all the rage at the moment in blog world.... Most of them are fruit filled and lend themselves perfectly to an attractive seasonally-showcased summer dessert.

Made from pastry which is carefully turned up and over filling around the edge of an open pie, they are intrinsically pretty and practical at the same time..... A visual and often colourful centre, neatly held in by the systematically patterned or rustically rugged crisp, baked pastry folds.

When I was trying to explain to Miss GF what a 'galette' was, we took (as we often do) to a Google search to seek pictures which would visually explain its shape and structure. We were struck by just how few savoury galettes were featured (other than in pancake form) compared to sweet. So much so, that when I mooted my desire to make a savoury version and specifically one based on the Greek Spanakopita Pie, Miss GF questioned my judgement, suggesting that perhaps a peach or cherry-filled variety was a better idea....

Okay.... that may partly have been her baulking at the prospect of spinach and cheese, but savoury was where I headed anyway.


If you have never heard of or eaten Spanakopita before, then consider you have seriously missed out. A popular buy from Greek bakeries when on holiday, this lunch-time favourite is usually made with layers of filo pastry surrounding a thick filling of spinach, Feta cheese, onions and herbs. I say 'lunch'.... It could happily be devoured at any time of the day (or night).... but my pre-gluten free memories of it convey hot summer lunch-time picnics on the beaches of the Greek Islands as a student, looking for cheap, healthy, filling sustenance.

Sadly, holidays in Greece now exclude my favourite Spanakopita, on account of the locals not (thus far) catering with a version suitable for us gluten-avoiders. Not one to want to ever miss out on the flavours of my youth however, I have now been inspired to make my own version of Spanakopita in galette form.


Those of you who follow my blog will know that back in November 2016, I discovered Jus-Rol ready-rolled gluten free puff pastry. It has made a huge difference in our busy lives to get quick puff pastry without the faff. Although you can get blocks of ready to use gluten free puff pastry via the likes of Silly Yak, Genius and Fria, I have yet to find another ready-rolled brand. So for total convenience, Jus-Rol is a winner. I get mine from larger Tesco stores, but you can get it from Ocado too.

When I first tried it back in November, I was bemused by the fact that Jus-Rol have made the ready-rolled pastry sheets round (as far as I am aware, there are no glutenous ready-rolled brands without straight edges). Not wanting to waste any pastry, I have therefore taken to finding ingenious ways to cook it up in dishes that naturally lend themselves to 'roundness'...... Watch this space..... I have another fab pie coming soon!

This Galette was a perfect choice for circular pastry. Stuffed with a generously-filled centre of freshly-wilted iron-rich spinach, finely-sliced leek, chopped red onion, crushed aromatic garlic, crumbled sharp Feta cheese and sprinkled with a seasoning of pungent oregano, sea salt and ground black peppercorns, my Spanakopita Galette is an incredibly delicious and very special vegetarian, gluten free pie.... which is amazing hot or cold...... ideal for a family meal or a #freefrompicnic wherever you may be.


Lest we forget Miss GF's negativity over the possibility of feeding her Feta and spinach, she was treated to her own very unique galette which I will post as a separate recipe very shortly...... Keep your eyes peeled..... hers was as amazing as it was quick!

I am sharing my gluten free Spanakopita Galette with :


Cook Blog Share with Recipes Made Easy

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum







Free From Fridays with Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel

Meat Free Mondays with Tinned Tomatoes


Eat Your Greens with Allotment to Kitchen and The Veg Hog

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too





Simple & in Season with Feeding Boys

Fiesta Friday #176


Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice




Spanakopita Galette (serves 4)

Ingredients

300g fresh baby spinach
2 leeks - washed, trimmed and finely sliced
2 large red scallions or 1 small red onion - finely chopped
2 cloves garlic- crushed 
olive oil to sauté 
100g Feta cheese - crumbled
1 teaspoon dried oregano or a very small handful of fresh oregano leaves - finely chopped
salt and ground black pepper to season
milk to seal the pastry and as milk wash
1 pack (280g) Jus Rol gluten free ready rolled puff pastry (or alternative of choice)

Method

  1. Prepare your spinach by wilting in a large saucepan with approx 60 ml simmering water over a low heat for a few minutes. Drain in a colander or sieve, pushing down to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. In a separate saucepan, sauté the sliced leeks and chopped onion in a little olive oil, stirring frequently, until soft, but still pale in colour.
  3. Add the garlic and a little salt and pepper and sauté for a little longer, stirring through thoroughly. Set aside to cool completely.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
  5. Lay out the round of Jus Rol pastry on a sheet of baking paper (or if you are using home made puff, or an alternative pre-made brand, roll out and cut a circle approximately 30 cm/12 inches in diameter).
  6. Pour the cold leek-onion mixture into the centre of the pastry and spread into a circle leaving a clean pastry edge of approximately 5 cm/2 inches wide.
  7. Scatter the cold, drained spinach on top and mix up slightly with the leek, making sure you keep the wide pastry rim clear.
  8. Sprinkle with oregano.
  9. Top with crumbled Feta.
  10. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and a little more oregano.
  11. Brush the pastry edge with milk and using a sharp knife, make slightly angled cuts to about two-thirds the width of the pastry strip at intervals of about 7 cm/2½ inches.
  12. One at a time, fold the pastry strips up over the edge of the filling, brushing each top with milk as you go and then folding up the next strip, sticking and sealing to the last. Keep going until you have folded pastry around the whole pie. On the last piece, carefully lift the first piece and fold the last underneath (ensuring you brush with milk) and press to seal to each side as an even pattern.
  13. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the pastry is golden, puffed and crisp.
  14. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer to a serving plate. Eat hot or cold.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Celia Czech Premium Hand-Crafted gluten free Lager - a review


I'm not a huge winter beer drinker, but when the hot weather arrives and we decamp to the garden to enjoy those warm, sultry evenings, a glass of the golden nectar goes down a treat. So when the good folks at Celia Beer contacted me recently and asked if I would like to try their Gluten Free Hand Crafted Czech Lager, I agreed without hesitation and eagerly awaited for the postman!


It is amazing (in a good way) how many gluten free beers have appeared on the market in the last five years. When we first became a gluten free household in 2011, there was nothing available (although I will be honest, I wasn't actually out there searching....). Now it seems your bog-standard supermarket will stock at least one and often 5 or 6 to choose from.

Although I have seen the Celia light Organic Lager on the shelves, this has been my first taste.... When the box arrived though, I was particularly excited to see a bottle of Celia Dark Lager, which in gluten free world, is more of a rarity...


I chose a particularly lovely evening to enjoy it...... sat on our newly finished patio, with home made sausage rolls and savoury nibbles...... A perfect combination! As I opened the dark bottle and took in the hoppy aroma, my anticipation was heightened.... The clear, dark, red-hued liquid filling my glass was as inviting to the eyes as it was to the nose...... Taking my first sip, I was not disappointed. This beer is smooth...... really smooth...... and it tastes amazing..... A slightly bitter nuttiness with a back-hit of malty sweetness.

The Organic Light Lager is also rather (too) easy to drink..... again very very smooth, this crystal clear amber glassful, tastes as good as any lager I remember.....


So what makes Celia lager interesting and where does it hail from?

A Czech beer, Celia lagers are hand-crafted at the Zatecky brewery in the historic Czech town of Zatec. Beer has been brewed here using the local Saaz hops (the only protected variety in the world) since 1004..... That's long before we had any known requirement for gluten-freedom.


Celia gluten free lager is traditionally batch brewed in the cellars of a 14th Century castle over a period of 2 months +, which includes a 14 day open vat fermentation process, and (for the light lager) is truly organic, and also vegan-friendly, using only water from the local foothills, organic hops and organic barley malt.

Barley malt? What??? But that contains gluten right? Apparently not at unsafe levels in this beer! The lovely guys at Celia did years of research on our behalf..... during which they identified an enzyme that magically bonds with the gluten during the lagering process and enables its removal through an innovative silicone filtration system. That means that Celia gluten free lagers maintain their status as true beers but also, by the time they reach the bottle, contain less than 5 parts per million gluten levels...... and that has awarded them Crossed-Grain quality.


One of the things I really like about this lager though, is that it is not excessively gassy. That's a good thing! In GFHQ, we don't like unnaturally fizzy beer..... The technique used to brew Celia gluten free lager uses only natural carbonation as a result of the open fermentation process, so there is no nasty artificial addition of carbon dioxide. That makes for a smooth beer with a light taste.


The Celia Dark Lager is not organic, but I forgive them or that! Even Mr GF (who usually gives lager a wide-berth, being a bitter drinker), said it tasted really good..... not that he got more than a sip to try.... It was mine.... all mine! It certainly didn't last long in the glass...... I enjoyed every mouthful..... Although having been out searching for more since, I have struggled to lay my hands on another Dark bottle.... If you see any, let me know!

If you want to read more about how Celia brews their beer, check out their website here.
CELIA : #Brewedforfood


I am sharing my Celia hand-crafted gluten free Lager experience with the following :


Brilliant Blog posts with Honest Mum

Free From Fridays with Free From Fridays with Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel


With thanks to Celia Premium Czech Lager for sending me samples of their Premium Light Organic and Dark lagers to trial. I received no payment for this post and was not required to write a review. All views expressed here are my own.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Beef Bolognese Pie (gluten free) using Schwartz sauce mix


Ever had a Bolognese Pie? No? Neither had I before I made this one! Will I make it again? For sure! It turned out to be a deliciously tasty twist on an old pasta favourite.


The idea came from a fusion of two foodie things on my 'to do' list. The first : a need to re-test my exciting new Gluten Free Alchemist shortcrust pastry recipe (first used with my Mini Picnic Pies) on a larger pie, to see how it handled, rolled and baked in 'big' form. The second : a need to test the versatility of the Schwartz gluten free Bolognese sauce mix, that I was gifted in a goody bag when I attended a Schwartz gluten free supper club earlier in the year.


Like any busy parent with a full-time job, it is always great to find a few dinner-time short cuts to make life easier. The new Schwartz gluten free sauces are full of flavour and a cinch to use , but as with any committed foodie, it's always fun to think outside the box and find new or interesting ways to use them.

This Bolognese Pie uses beef bolognese, made to the letter with the Schwartz mix, but with some extra simmer time (lid off) to reduce the liquid and thicken the sauce, so that the pastry remains crisp when filled. You'll find no soggy bottoms in my house!


The pastry was as amazing for this pie as it had been for the Mini Picnic Pies. Made with a carefully-combined blend of wholegrain and white starch flours, it is nutritionally balanced and also rice-free. Most importantly though, this pastry dough is incredibly smooth and pliable, rolls perfectly and is flexible enough to line a large pie base without having to patch up the holes.


Filled with thick beef Bolognese sauce and topped with a decorated crust, it bakes beautifully...... Crisp and short on the outside..... rich, meaty, red and saucy on the inside. Miss GF couldn't get enough of it, but I have to agree with her....., it was rather moreish.


I am offering my Bolognese Pie to the following linkies, to share some gluten free love :


Free From Fridays with Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel

Cook Blog Share with Hijacked By Twins






Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Fiesta Friday #174



Beef Bolognese Pie (makes 1 x 8 to 9 inch pie)

Ingredients

Pastry (1 batch GFA rice-free shortcrust (as below) or use your favourite short-crust pastry - home-made or packet)
110g tapioca flour
88g potato starch flour
88g sorghum flour
66g cornflour
44g teff flour
44g buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
220g unsalted butter - cold and cubed (or dairy-free alternative)
2 large eggs
approx 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water (iced if possible)

Beef Bolognese Filling (using Schwartz GF mix or use your favourite Bolognese recipe)
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
450g/1lb extra lean beef mince
1 large onion - chopped
100g button mushrooms - sliced/halved/quartered
2 tablespoons tomato puree
150 ml/¼ pint water
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 x sachet gluten free Schwartz Spaghetti Bolognese mix

grated cheddar cheese and/or
grated parmesan cheese

1 egg and a little milk - beaten together for egg-wash

Method

  1. Pastry : Weigh and mix together the flours, xanthan gum and salt, making sure all lumps are completely broken down (I put mine in an air-tight container and shake vigorously).
  2. Rub the butter into the flour mix using the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
  3. Beat the eggs together in a small bowl and then add to the flour mix with 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water.
  4. Bring the dough together with a flat knife or your hands, adding more water a teaspoon at a time, until you achieve a firm, but slightly sticky dough-ball. Knead slightly to ensure a smooth even texture (you may choose to 'fraiser' the dough instead of kneading, for an extra smooth consistency - as in this post)
  5. Wrap in clingfilm until ready to use and chill in the fridge.
  6. Meanwhile make your Beef Bolognese Filling : In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the mince and onion and fry for 4 to 5 minutes until the onion is softening and the mince is browning nicely.
  7. Add the mushrooms and continue to fry for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Drain the excess liquid from the pan, before adding the tomato puree. Stir through and fry for a further minute.
  9. Add the water, chopped tomatoes and Schwartz sauce mix. Bring to the boil, stirring continually to ensure the mixture is well-blended.
  10. Turn the heat down and stirring intermittently, simmer with the lid off for about 20 to 30 minutes until the liquid has reduced considerably and you have a thickened bolognese sauce. (If you are concerned that it is not thickening enough, you can mix a heaped teaspoon cornflour (starch) with a dribble of water to make a paste and add to the pan, stirring into the boiling liquid until thickening, although I didn't find this necessary).
  11. Remove from the heat and allow the Bolognese filling to cool completely (stir from time to time whilst it is doing so).
  12. Whilst the filling is cooling, cut off about two-thirds of your pastry and lightly dust the base of an 8 or 9 inch pie tin (I used one with a loose base to make it easier to remove later) with cornflour.
  13. If the pastry is very hard from being in the fridge, gently warm slightly with your hands to soften and then roll out (between 2 sheets of flour-dusted clingfilm) to a size large enough to line the base and sides of the pie tin. 
  14. Remove the top sheet of clingfilm and flip the pastry over into the tin, gently easing into the base and up the sides until it fits snuggly. Try and remove the clingfilm, but if the pastry has stuck to the base, just pop the whole thing into the fridge for about half an hour and the clingfilm should then come away easily.
  15. Remove the clingfilm and carefully cut away the excess pastry at the top edge with a sharp knife, making sure you leave a slight overhang to stick the pastry lid (save the left-overs and amalgamate with the remaining pastry by kneading slightly).
  16. Place the raw pastry base in the fridge to firm up.
  17. When the filling is cold, heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
  18. Take the pie base and fill with the Bolognese sauce.
  19. Sprinkle the top of the sauce with a little Cheddar and/or Parmesan cheese.
  20. Roll out the remaining pastry to the size of the pie top (for a lid). Make the egg-wash by beating an egg with a little milk and use to brush round the top sides of the pastry base. Drape the pastry lid over.
  21. Using your fingers, gently push the lid together with the wet pastry-base sides to stick and then cut away any excess pastry to tidy the pie edges.
  22. If you have any remaining pastry, you can use to cut out some decorations. Stick these to the top of the pie with a little egg-wash.
  23. Carefully cut a couple of small slits into the top of the pie with a sharp knife (to allow steam to escape when cooking) and brush the whole top surface with egg wash.
  24. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the pastry is golden on top and crisp.
  25. Carefully remove from the tin and enjoy!
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated