Intro

What's WIDE CIRCLE COOKING about?
I blog information, news and recipes about gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, alcohol-free and vegan cooking. Right now I've been working on an exciting project where I avoid refined sugar and create recipes using a range of healthier alternatives.

Happy cooking!

ps. ask all guests if they have an allergy (because the recipes use some unusual combinations and they may not expect to find citrus and soya in the chocolate cake, for example).
pps.if you are cooking for someone with an allergy, please read my allergy page first.

The wheat-free, egg-free, dairy-free vegan barbecue

Summer is here! I thought it would be great to offer a selection of yummy barbecue options so there is something for everyone at your meatless, wheatless outdoor meal. The focus of my spread is my garlic mushrooms, but added to that is the mandarin and thyme rice salad, the American bean salad, some asparagus and sweetcorn, and some spicy sweet potato wedges (recipe to come). Finish off with the hot toffee banana parcels and I guarantee a lot of happy guests as far as the food is concerned (though I can't do anything about poor weather...sorry!)  

The best garlic mushrooms


Ah, the garlic mushroom... is there anything nicer? These ones here are incredibly moreish and because they are so large, they also make the perfect focus of a meal or barbecue, in the place of meat. You can cook them either on the barbecue or on a grill – just remember to make enough (two should be enough, but my friends gobbled three each, no probs).

Serves 4

8 large flat mushrooms
8 cloves of garlic
8 tbsp olive oil
Large handful of parsley
Sea salt

Finely chop the garlic and parsley and mix with the oil in a small bowl. Peel the mushrooms and trim the stalks. Grill or barbecue under cooked through and oozing juice. Add a good spoonful of the garlic/parsley mix and a liberal sprinkling of salt – the parsley counteracts much of the strength of the garlic (so your breath will stay relatively sweet!) and makes them look lovely, too.

 

Mandarin and thyme rice salad

You know what it's like when you want a satisfying, yet summery salad but you don't want to spend ages roasting vegetables or whatever? Well try this – it's dead easy to make and the unusual mix of flavours are lovely on a summer’s day – perfect for a barbecue or picnic.

Serves 4 as a side

Small mugful of rice
1 300g tin of mandarin oranges in juice, drained.
1 handful fresh thyme
1 handful hazelnuts
1tbsp olive oil
2tbsp orange juice (you can use the juice from the tin)

Put the mugful of rice in a saucepan and then use the same mug to measure two mugfuls of boiling water. Place a lid of the pan and put on a medium heat until all the water has been absorbed (this will take about  10–15 minutes, depending on the type of rice and gives a perfect result).
While the rice cools, chop the nuts and thyme (remove any woody stalky bits). Add the mandarin oranges, nuts, thyme, oil and juice to the cooled rice and stir with a fork, chopping up the oranges as you do so. Delicious – and even better the next day, which is a bonus if you want to do it in advance.

Hot toffee vegan banana parcels

We had a fantastic barbecue the other day in the glorious summery weather and to finish off I baked these banana parcels on the embers, mainly because as with many barbecues it was a bit of a last-minute effort and I had a bunch of over-ripe bananas attracting flies in the kitchen. I'm pleased to say the result was delicious and the mix of flavours is superb. You can also do them in the oven, so don't worry if a barbecue is not in the offing!

Serves 4

4 ripe bananas
4 tsp soft brown sugar
4 tsp dairy-free margarine (eg Pure)
120ml orange juice

First get yourself four square pieces of foil, about 30cm x 30cm. On each piece place a banana (cut into four or five pieces), a teaspoon of brown sugar and a teaspoon of dairy-free margarine. Bring the front and back of the foil up to meet in the middle and then fold the foil to secure. Fold the sides too – but before you seal everything up, add roughly two tablespoons of orange juice to each parcel.
Bake for about 10 minutes on the barbecue, or for about 15 minutes in a 200C oven on a baking tray. Take care when opening the parcels as the steam is very hot.