Saturday, 27 June 2015

Rhubarb-Strawberry Meringue Pie made with Lime, Pistachio & Cardamom Pastry (gluten free) - Amazing what you can do with eggs!!

Who likes Lemon Meringue Pie? This is my latest take on it. Updated..... Trendy 2015 flavour combo of the season......... I introduce to you my Rhubarb & Strawberry Meringue Pie.........

Many months ago, I made my first revamp of the LMP...... a Raspberry Meringue Pie. It was quite a hit in my household........... but now it is time to tinker again with the popular 19th Century dessert.

Sadly, over the winter months, my garden rhubarb plant managed to take its last breath. Too much rain and not enough drainage I fear. I loved my rhubarb plant...... so I replaced it as quick as I could....... carefully planted in a new spot in the garden, with (hopefully) a better chance of survival over the wet winters and dry summers we seem to be experiencing in the South East.

So far, it is flourishing and has recently managed to produce enough delicious pink sticks to warrant a dessert in its honour.

I always think rhubarb is such an eloquently British fruit (or is it a vegetable?), which grows and flourishes (except in my garden) to deliver stalk after stalk of distinctive pink tartness....... and transports me back to my childhood in a flash...... Rhubarb & Custard sweets in small paper bags being sucked furiously on the way home from school...... Rhubarb Crumble...... pink, sharp, soft fruit compote, topped with sugary crunchy crumble topping, served warm with custard for pudding after Sunday roast....... Fighting with siblings for a share of the custard skin.....

Now if you think about traditional Lemon Meringue Pie, it works so well because the filling is incredibly tangy and pairs so perfectly against the sugary meringue. Okay...... a stick of rhubarb is not the same as a lemon, but it shares the same sharp quality, so is pretty much guaranteed to work as Rhubarb Meringue Pie.

Add another very seasonal fruit..... the wonderful red sweet strawberry and you start to achieve the wow factor. Combine the fruit with a sweet gluten free pistachio, lime and cardamom short-crust pastry and you have a seriously sophisticated bunch of flavours. The tartness of the filling marries superbly with the nutty, slightly cardamom-floral pastry and sweet vanilla meringue. Layers of firm, crisp, fragrant pastry and creamy, dreamy pink filling, all topped with pillowy meringue, cooked to a crisp edge with a soft, fluffy, airy centre......

If you know anything about meringue pies (other than that they are amazingly delicious), you will know that they are made with eggs..... Whole egg in the pastry, egg yolks in the filling and egg whites in the meringue.....

I am always amazed at the versatility and value of eggs. Their qualities are really quite astounding..... They can be cooked in so many different ways with completely different results. From scrambled, poached or baked to omeletted, fried and boiled - hard or soft, there is an egg for every mood...... In baking they might help bind, thicken, glaze, raise or even clarify.

And they are really good for you too...... Stuffed full of protein, incredibly low in carbs and rich in vitamins D, B2, B12, iodine, selenium and other essential vitamins and minerals. What is not to love?

For me, eggs have to be free range. The welfare of the chooks that produce them is really important and in my (humble) opinion, a happy chicken which has plenty of space and freedom to roam and scratch in open space with its pals, produces a far superior, richer, wonderfully-yolked egg. Worth every extra penny they cost, both in moral credits and flavour.

I was recently asked to create a recipe post on behalf of the good people at British Lion Eggs to showcase the humble egg as part of their egg recipes campaign. British Lion Eggs are critical in the UK to ensuring high standards of egg safety and launched their Lion Code of Practice in 1998, effectively eradicating salmonella in British eggs and making UK production among the safest in the world. This is not the same for imported eggs.

The UK Lion flock of free range chickens is the largest in Europe, which in addition to reassurances about safety, reduces supply-chain food miles and helps to support British farmers. However they are produced, British Lion eggs and egg products are stamped or labelled by the British Lion standard making them easy to identify and trust.

I could have produced so many dishes to show how incredible a good egg can be...... check out my Summer Tortilla, Quiche, flourless Orange Cake, Hazelnut Cookies or Citrus Curd......

There is even a blog challenge aptly entitled Simply Eggcellent, run by the lovely Dom over at Belleau Kitchen dedicated to our creative kitchen antics with this oval-shelled wonder.

But at heart I am a dessert girl...... and I think this Rhubarb Meringue Pie is perfect for showing off some of the qualities the egg has to offer...... including its ability to bind, set or add an airy lightness. Quintessential English flavours in a truly fantastic pud!

I am sharing this dish with the following :

Simple & In Season with Ren Behan.

Simply Eggcellent with Belleau Kitchen.

Cook Blog Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.

Bake of the Week with Casa Costello.

Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Meringue Pie with Lime, Pistachio & Cardamom Pastry (Makes 1 x 9 inch/23 cm tart or 5 x 4 inch/10 cm tartlets)


130g brown rice flour/rice flour
60g corn flour
40g shelled unsalted pistachio nuts - toasted & finely ground
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
110g unsalted butter - cold & cubed
60g soft light brown sugar
seeds from 2 large fresh cardamom pods - finely ground 
1 lime - finely grated zest  +
juice of 1 lime made up to 1½ tablespoons liquid with cold water
1 large free range egg 

Rhubarb-Strawberry Filling
4 medium sticks rhubarb - washed, trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths
400g fresh strawberries - de-stalked and cut in half.
juice ½ a lime
150g golden caster sugar (if you want it sweeter, add more)
30g corn flour
3 large free range egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
40g unsalted butter - cut into cubes

3 large free range egg whites 
170g caster sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla bean powder

Method - Pastry

  1. Get ready your pie tin(s) - if you use non-stick, they won't need any preparation, otherwise lightly flour the inside.
  2. Weigh and mix the flours, ground pistachio, xanthan gum and salt in a large bowl, making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour mix until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Add and stir in the sugar, ground cardamom & lime zest.
  5. Lightly beat the egg with the lime juice and water and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix with a flat knife until it comes together as a dough.
  6. Dust your hands with corn flour and gently knead the dough to ensure it is evenly blended.
  7. Do not chill the pastry dough - use straight away.
  8. Lay a large piece of cling film on your rolling surface and dust liberally with flour. Place your dough in the middle and flatten slightly. Dust the top of the pastry with flour and lay another piece of cling film on top. It is now ready for rolling. (If you are making smaller pies, you may find it easier to cut off and roll smaller pieces for each individual tart one at a time).
  9. Roll the dough (inside the cling film sheets) out to a thickness of about ½ cm. Re-flour if it starts to stick to the cling film
  10. Line the pie tins with the pastry and carefully trim the edges with a sharp knife. 
  11. Now chill the pastry in the fridge for about half an hour in the tins, to allow to rest.
  12. Whilst chilling, pre-heat the oven to 190 C/375 F/Gas 5.
  13. Line the pastry cases with baking paper and fill with baking beans. 
  14. Blind bake for 10 minutes with the baking beans and then remove the beans and bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes until the pastry is golden.
  15. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Method - Filling

  1. Place the cut rhubarb, strawberries and lime juice in a large saucepan and gently heat until simmering, stirring frequently, until the fruit releases its liquid, becomes soft and breaks down. 
  2. Remove from the heat and push through a sieve to separate the liquid from the fibrous pulp. Discard the pulp.
  3. You should now have approximately 460 ml fruit puree. Pour this back into a clean saucepan and add the sugar.
  4. Mix the corn flour with a tiny amount of cold water to make a paste and add this to the pan, stirring to combine evenly.
  5. Gently heat the mixture, stirring continually, until it comes to a simmer. Continue to stir over a low heat for a minute or so until the mixture thickens.
  6. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  7. Add and beat in the egg yolks one at a time using an electric whisk and then add and beat in the butter. 
  8. Spoon the filling into the pastry cases equally and smooth the surface.
  9. Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the filling to set.

Method - Meringue

  1. Whilst you are making the meringue, pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  2. Whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk in a large very clean bowl to soft peaks.
  3. Mix the sugar with the vanilla bean powder and gradually add to the egg whites a little at a time, continuing to whisk until the meringue has a stiff, glossy appearance.
  4. Pipe or spread the meringue onto the top of the tarts, spreading to the edge to seal.
  5. Place the tarts on a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes until the meringue surface is crisp and golden. Check frequently whilst cooking to make sure it is not burning and turn the oven down slightly if you are concerned.
  6. Eat warm or cold. Delicious with cream.
With thanks to British Lion Eggs and Greg at Total Media for providing the opportunity to share my recipe. I was not paid to write this post and all views represented are my own.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Boozy Orange & Strawberry Trifle in a Jar - gluten free

The freezer is still broken. The guy was supposed to come and fix it on Friday and didn't turn up! Talk about bad business...... It really, really irritates me when tradesmen don't turn up when they say they will and work diaries have been rearranged to make sure someone is in.

And as if that isn't irritating enough, I managed to fall over my feet in our main local town yesterday, injuring my knee, smacking my head against a metal wiring box (which was strategically placed to 'break my fall') and leaving me with bruises in places I have never even noticed before..... I can laugh about it today, but yesterday I felt very lucky not to have been carted off to hospital and equally a complete plonker for falling in the first place....... and all because I was trying to beat the traffic wardens back to my car. Lesson learnt...... either set off earlier when the ticket is about to run out, or risk the ticket!

A very kind woman (who was conveniently first-aid trained) happened to be right next to me when I hurtled head-first towards the pavement and checked me over, gave me a hug and advised me on what action to take should concussion set in...... She was lovely and I was very grateful...... The experience restored my faith in human kindness.....

Anyway..... if you read my last post, you will know that we have been desperately trying to eat our way through the freezer contents to avoid as much waste as possible. Actually, we have done pretty well and have hardly thrown away anything.

Inevitably, there were loads of cakes stashed in the baskets and among them, I found a couple of leftover orange sponges from when I was making my Posh Jaffa Cakes a few weeks ago. That was one sponge I definitely couldn't let go to waste.......

As is the want of left-over cakes, trifles can become their inevitable impromptu destination in our house. Not that any of us have a problem with trifle, impromptu or otherwise..... There are hundreds of permutations of ingredients, flavour combinations and layers to be explored....... If there's one thing to be said for trifle, it is nothing if not versatile!

Alongside the orange sponge, I still had a jar of Citrus Curd that I made at the end of April, a punnet of strawberries in the fridge and some Cointreau in the cupboard. Cointreau is one of my favourite liqueurs and works beautifully in trifles........ giving a good boozy hit and a distinctively orange tang. If you don't drink (or want to use) alcohol, then just substitute with some freshly squeezed orange juice!

This trifle was screaming out for a bit of jelly too! When I made the previous Jaffa Cake recipe, I also made some amazing home-made jelly using clementine juice and Cointreau (optional), which was going to be perfect for this jar of layered yumminess....... So I made some more!

In hindsight I could have added some nuts to the trifle for a bit of crunch (roasted chopped hazelnuts would have been ideal), but I forgot......... But I did top the whole, delightful jar with a good dollop of white chocolate custard-cream........ Well it had to be done didn't it?

One of the things I love about white chocolate custard-cream is that if you melt the chocolate and add it still quite warm to very cold whipped custard-cream, the chocolate quickly solidifies in tiny weeny little pieces as you fold....... The texture is amazing and although it can make the cream look a bit 'granular' in appearance, the little chocolatey grains you get on eating are just amazing........

So left-over cake trifle wins again! This one is perfect for summer...... full of fresh flavours....... A generously tipple-infused sweet orange-almond sponge, fresh crisp British strawberries, home-made tangy curd (which incidentally was also originally made to use up left over fruit), bouncy, boozy jelly and a smooth creamy, decadent vanillary topping with deliciously melty chocolate 'bits'. Yum Yum Yum!!

I am sharing my trifle jars with the following :

Alphabakes with Caroline Makes & The More Than Occasional Baker. This month's letter is 'O'....... and this trifle's full of it!

Treat Petite with The Baking Explorer (and Cakeyboi). June's theme is 'Let's Get Fruity'...... These petite individual trifle jars are stuffed with orange, other citrus and strawberry.......

Credit Crunch Munch with Jen's Food (& Fuss Free Flavours & Fab Food For All).

No Waste Food Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.

Cook, Blog, Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.

Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too.

Tasty Tuesdays with Honest Mum.

Boozy Orange & Strawberry Trifles


orange sponge cake - left over from this recipe - cut into small squares
a good glug of Cointreau orange liqueur (or almond liqueur would work well)
a few tablespoons of good quality citrus curd (or orange curd) - I used home made from this recipe
fresh strawberries - hulled and sliced
orange or strawberry jelly (I used home-made orange-Cointreau jelly from this recipe)
white chocolate custard-cream (see below)
extra strawberries to decorate

White Chocolate Custard-Cream
270 ml double cream
130 ml good quality vanilla custard (I used shop-bought)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
100g good quality white chocolate - chopped

Method for Custard-Cream
  1. Whip the cream, custard and vanilla paste together until you can form soft peaks.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave (medium setting, 30 second bursts, stirring well between each until melted and smooth) or in a glass bowl over a saucepan of just-simmering water, stirring frequently.
  3. Fold the melted chocolate into the whipped cream mixture. 

Putting the Trifles Together

  1. In your chosen serving dishes, place a layer of cake pieces and then add a splash of liqueur (to taste) and allow to soak in (1 to 1½ tablespoons liqueur per trifle gives a really good alcohol hit).
  2. Add a tablespoon or two of citrus curd and smooth over the moistened cake.
  3. Top this with slices of fresh strawberry.
  4. Next add a layer of jelly.
  5. Finally top with a big dollop of white chocolate custard-cream. Decorate with a fresh strawberry and a grate of chocolate.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Strawberry Crumble Muffins (gluten free/dairy free)

Our freezer is broken which is turning out to be a bit of a nightmare...... We keep a lot of stuff in our freezer! I batch-bake bread and cakes regularly because we rely so much on home-baked goods and we still have stocks of fruit and veg that has been sustaining us until the next harvest.

This means that essentially, we are trying to eat our way through weeks of food at break-neck speed, so that it doesn't go to waste and so that we can get the freezer fixed (if it can be fixed).....

In some ways it is a good thing to be forced to clear out the freezer occasionally..... It is amazing what you find, forgotten and abandoned in the depths of the baskets and at the back of the shelves. The flip side, is that your meals become entirely dictated by what comes out and you have to be as innovative as possible in combining ingredients, without creating more food than you need (there's nowhere to freeze the excess). And if you can't eat it all yourself, find some willing victims to bake and cook for....... Nothing will last long once it has defrosted....

One of the things I seem to have stashed in abundance is a variety of fruit compotes, and roasted strawberries...... all in neat little portion pots (when did I ever find the time to be that organised?). With the school summer fair this term, I decided to put some of them to good use making one of my daughter's old favourites..... a fruit crumble cake.

The original (glutenous) recipe came from a pack of Usborne children's recipe cards - '30 Yummy Things to Bake', which we used to enjoy when my daughter was a pre-schooler and before she was diagnosed Coeliac. The other day, she pulled the cards off the shelf and looked longingly at a few of them, so it seemed a good time to revisit and adapt for gluten-freedom.

For the school fair, I made the cake as a tray-bake, but with plenty of fruit left over, I decided to treat my colleagues to a batch of the same, but in muffin form....... Actually, I preferred the recipe as muffins and they certainly went down well in the office.

The recipe can be made both gluten and dairy free, or just gluten free, depending on your needs, by replacing the butter and yoghurt with dairy free substitutes. Either way tastes as good, so there's no missing out on flavour.

The star of the show is the fruity compote layer which is sandwiched between soft sponge and crunchy sweet crumble topping. I used my 'pot-luck' freezer strawberry-raspberry compote which I mixed with extra roasted strawberries....... but you can replace with any flavour thick fruit compote you fancy, or just replace with a good quality jam or fruit conserve, if that's what you have to hand. It is worth using something with bits of discernible fruit for texture and to enhance the fruitiness of the experience.

The sponge base has extra strawberry compote mixed in to enhance the fruitiness even further and you could even try using fruit yoghurt instead of plain in the cake batter...... I ran out of plain yoghurt after my first batch and ended up pilfering from my daughter's yoghurt stash in the fridge........ Handily, she had a nice pot of strawberry yoghurt in there which worked perfectly!

The texture of the sponge is light and moist. The ground almonds add a lovely nutty texture and help to maintain freshness (should you have any left uneaten). Plus, I always think of cakes with almonds as relatively healthy, so there is less guilt attached to eating them.

Either way, these muffins are pretty delicious and as the recipe has already been requested by a couple of the office folk, it seems important to get them posted.....

I am sharing this recipe with the following this week/month :

Bake of the Week with Casa Costello.

Treat Petite - this month with Kat at the Baking Explorer (co-hosted by Cakeyboi). This month's theme is 'Let's Get Fruity'....... these muffins certainly have!

Tea Time Treats with Karen at Lavender & Lovage (& The Hedge Combers). June's Tea Time adventure is all about Muffins, Fairy Cakes and Cup Cakes, so these are a perfect offering.

Love Cake with Ness at Jibber Jabber, who is asking for cakes which speak of Midsummer Madness...... I have been tearing my hair out trying to use up freezer produce and these cakes (which are filled with summer deliciousness) were perfect for helping reduce my insanity.

I am also offering them as my second entry to the wonderful Dom over at Belleau Kitchen and his Simply Eggcellent 'anything goes' month. Cakes tend to be pretty reliant for the most part on eggs, and these contain a perfect ratio of three large free range ones!

And finally..... The No Waste Food Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. I am doing a lot of food salvage at the moment and these muffins used up lots of frozen fruit....

Cook, Blog, Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.

Strawberry Crumble Muffins (makes 18 large muffins)


Sponge Base
225g dairy free spread/butter - room temperature 
225g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs - room temperature
6 tablespoons/90 ml dairy free yoghurt/ plain yoghurt/ strawberry yoghurt
1 tablespoon thick berry coulis/runny strawberry jam/sauce
250g plain GF flour mix (I used blend A from this post)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch fine sea salt
25g polenta (fine ground)

Crumble Topping
65g plain GF flour mix
40g GF oats
50g dairy free margarine/butter - cold
55g soft light brown sugar
15g ground hazelnuts
extra light brown sugar to sprinkle on top

Strawberry Compote
600g strawberries - trimmed, hulled and cut into quarters
60g caster sugar
2 tablespoons water

Runny Strawberry Jam/Conserve


  1. Make the  compote first : Put the strawberries, sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer stirring. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the fruit is soft and broken down and the liquid has reduced into a thick compote. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Make the crumble topping : In a large bowl, mix together the flour and oats and rub or blend in the spread/butter to resemble breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the sugar and hazelnuts and stir through. Set aside in the fridge to chill until ready to use.
  4. Make the Sponge : Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and place muffin cases in a muffin tin ready to fill.
  5. In a large bowl, cream together the spread/butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each (don't worry too much if they begin to curdle).
  7. Add the yoghurt and 1 tablespoon of cold compote/runny jam and beat again.
  8. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and polenta. Add to the wet mix and gently fold until just combined (be careful not to over-mix). 
  9. Put a large spoonful of sponge batter in each muffin case (about half-full) and smooth the top.
  10. Mix a couple of dessert spoons of strawberry jam with the compote. Put a heaped teaspoon of the jam mixture on the top of the cake batter in each muffin case and use a knife or fork to swirl through the batter. (If you are using only jam and it is too thick, just warm slightly to make runnier to swirl)
  11. Top each muffin with crumble mix and an extra sprinkle of brown sugar.
  12. Bake for about 30 minutes (large muffins) until well risen and a skewer comes out clean.
  13. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Salad Jar, An Amazing Salad & My New Summer Picnic Trick!

I really don't 'do' cold weather...... I hate it. I regularly suggest to my husband that I am not 'designed' for UK weather and we really should consider packing up and moving to somewhere with a more consistently warm climate. I feel grumpy in thick puffy jackets all winter and crave the summer heat on my skin...... taking any opportunity I can when it arrives to allow it to soak me. It makes me feel happier!

Summer seems to have been very inconsistent in its emergence this year, but this week, I think we might just be able to start persuading ourselves that it has arrived! If I can take my cardigan off in the office, I count that as warm...... to wear a pair of shorts requires it to be hot hot hot! Okay....... I'm somewhere between the two right now....... but that's progress in the right direction, so I will try to persuade myself that the sun is making its presence felt.

Living a 2 minute walk from the beach means that we have an all year round picnic and barbecue spot available. If it's windy (which it mostly is), we can shelter behind the beach groynes or head to meet friends at a beach hut. If it's hot and sultry (which is rare), we can laze on the pebbles and dip our toes in the sea to cool off. To be honest, I need the latter to be comfortable........ But either way, no picnic or barbie is complete without a good salad to go with it.

Enter the picnic Salad Jar......

A few weeks ago, I was asked by Florette to find some tasty ways to use their salads and that started me thinking..... With lots of salady ideas spinning round my head, I first made this delicious Baby Kale, Honey-Roast Butternut, Chicken, Parmesan & Pine Nut Salad. But that was just the start of my inspiration........ And I have since been hankering to make this Salad Jar.

Enter from stage right...... the Jam J-Art Project, brought to us by Think Money. The idea is to come up with innovative ideas to recycle and keep those jars in use........ other than for filling with preserves! What a perfectly perfect opportunity for me to test my salad!

If you look closely, you will see this salad jar is layered...... So what's different you ask? There have been plenty of layered salads done before......

But this is no randomly layered salad....... it is carefully considered...... the order each ingredient lands its place in the jar is dependent on its individual qualities..... absorbency, crispiness, optimum texture for eating as well as colour and contrast......

You will also see that the dressing is at the bottom and the leaves are at the top........ That is no coincidence either. Much as they want to be together, the dressing gently caressing the soft, green leaves, it is important that they are not allowed to meet until the dinner date. There is nothing worse than soggy salad!

This salad is made to be the star of the picnic...... When you tip it out, it should drop in order into the salad bowl....... A perfectly pretty mixing........ the dressing running through the other ingredients as it falls, gently coating them to make a freshly tossed, crisp, just-made salad.

So what's in there? Mine is layered with cherry tomatoes, Feta cheese, toasted walnuts, crispy fried pancetta, roasted baby peppers, red spring onions and Florette Baby Leaf and Rocket salad leaves. All dressed with a slightly sharp, oregano-infused, lemon-balsamic dressing.

Don't fancy these ingredients? Just make it to taste! But remember to carefully plan your order of layering to make sure crispy and dry stuff stays dry and crispy!

I am sharing my Salad Jar with the following :

Credit Crunch Munch, this month with Jen's food on behalf of Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours.

Tasty Tuesdays with Honest Mum

Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too.

Cook Blog Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes

Free From Fridays at the Free From Farmhouse

Simple & in Season with Ren Behan

#FoodYearLinkUp with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen. This is perfect for National Picnic Week.

Picnic Salad Jar (use quantities to suit your preferences, size of jar(s) and number of people to feed)


salad leaves - I used Florette Baby Leaf and Rocket
red spring onion/red onion - finely sliced
baby peppers - red, yellow and orange (I used super sweet chiquino peppers)
pancetta slices
walnut halves
Feta cheese - cut into cubes.
cherry tomatoes - red and yellow - cut in half

Balsamic-Lemon Dressing : 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
very large pinch of sea salt (I used smoked sea salt)
hefty grind black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano / ½ tablespoon fresh chopped oregano


  1. Prepare the peppers by deseeding and cutting in half lengthways. Brush the base of a roasting dish with olive oil and add the peppers, very lightly brushing with oil remaining on the brush.
  2. Roast in the oven at 200 C/400 F/Gas 6 for 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally until soft with edges beginning to brown. Set aside.
  3. Whilst the peppers are roasting, place your walnut halves in an oven-proof dish and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally to make sure they do not burn. Set aside.
  4. Fry the pancetta slices in a frying pan with a dash of hot olive oil until browning and then remove from the oil. Place on kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil as they cool. The pancetta will go crispy. Once cold, break into pieces about 2 inches/5 cm long.
  5. To make the dressing : put all the ingredients in a jar with a sealable lid and shake vigorously until mixed.
  6. To assemble the salad : It is important to assemble the ingredients in an order which will prevent leaves and other ingredients from going soggy before you are ready to eat. I assembled my jar as follows (the order in which the ingredients were put in the jar from bottom to top) : Dressing; halved Cherry Tomatoes; cubed Feta cheese; toasted Walnut halves; crispy fried Pancetta; roasted baby Peppers; finely sliced Red Spring Onion; Salad Leaves.
  7. Make sure you keep the jar upright when transporting and when you are ready, tip the contents into a salad bowl and Yay! you have layered fresh dressed salad.
With thanks to Florette Salad and Greg at Total Media for providing the salad vouchers and to Think Money for providing the Kilner Jar. I was not paid to write this post and all views represented are my own.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated