Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

This is a lovely cake - in this case more a carrot loaf as its baked in a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7 cm) and has been adapted from Phil Vickery's Seriously Good Gluten Free Baking. Its all the better for its cream cheese frosting. 

The Cake Ingredients
Vegetable oil for oiling
150g xylitol
125ml sunflower oil
2 large eggs
225g (Doves Farm) gluten free four
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda 
1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice 
2-4 tablespoons lactofree or non-dairy milk
250g grated carrot (I did mine in the blender)

The Frosting Ingredients
200g lactofree cream cheese or vegan tofu cream cheese
75g Billingtons golden unrefined icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
zest of 1 orange 

The Method
Preheat oven to 180C (GM4) and oil the loaf tin.

Blend together xylitol, oil and eggs with electric whisk.

Sift in the bicarb, flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, mixed spice and mix again til well incorporated. 

Add the milk, 2 tablespoons at first mix in to loosen the mixture, add a bit more if you feel it needs to be looser. 

Stir in the grated carrot until its evenly distributed. 

Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 40-50 minutes. 

Check it after 40 minutes - it may need a bit more - its done once the skewer comes out clean from the middle of the cake. 

Once its ready, take out the oven, leave in tin to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove and place on wire rack to cool completely. 

Once its cool, it only takes a few moments to whip together the the frosting - just put all the frosting ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork until everything is combined and smooth.

Then smother the cool cake... Done!


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Peanut butter square

Actually peanut butter chocolate square or more accurately...

Peanut butter digestive chocolate squares. 

Easy to make and easy to eat, adapted from a Lorraine Pascale recipe on the BBC
Chocolatey squares of peanut goodness
The ingredients
90g organic butter or non-dairy spread of your choice
120g good quality dark chocolate 
150g gluten free digestives biscuits (I used Trufree this time or make your own
120g xylitol (or Billingtons soft brown sugar)
180g good quality crunchy peanut butter (I always use Whole Earth)
3ml vanilla extract

Note on chocolate - if you want to avoid refined sugar (and dairy) as I often do go with xylitol chocolate, if you want to soya and soya Lecithin go with Lindt Excellence. If your not worried about any of that, Green & Blacks or Divine in good quality and tasty, there is always Hotel Chocolat if you want to really treat yourself - they are good at labelling their products, vegan, gluten free, etc. 

The Method
Line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment, leaving some hanging over the edges (so you can life it out once its set).

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat.

Whiz the digestive biscuits and xylitol in a blender or food processor to give fine crumbs.

Tip them into the melted butter and mix together.

Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract and mix together so everything is well combined.

Tip the mixture into the lined tin and press it down with a spatula.

Snap the chocolate into squares and throw into a bowl. 
To melt the chocolate sit the bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Make sure that the bottom of the pan does not touch the water. 
Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter and digestive mix.

Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.

After 30 minutes, remove it from the freezer, lift it out of the tin. Remove the paper and then use a sharp knife to divide it into 16 squares.

Its ready to eat now, but its better if its put in the fridge over night, it really depends how much patience you have :)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Homemade Baked Honey Custard For 2

Or in my case cos their so light 2 for 1!

The ingredients
1 medium egg
3 tbsp of honey
130ml unsweetened soya milk or lactofree milk or coconut milk (such as Kara)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg

The Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until frothy.

Pour mixture into ramekins, and fill ¾ full.

You can add a bit more nutmeg on top if you like.

Place ramekins in baking pan and fill baking pan halfway with

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until you can shake one without the middle moving.

Careful remove from the oven as the water is very hot.

But the custard can be enjoyed immediately!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sausage and bean potato-topped pie

This recipe was adapted from a recipe in The Hairy Biker Prefect Pies. They do know there pies. Another great wintery dish good at any time of day!

Serves 2 (with some left for breakfasts for 1 lucky person)
The Ingredients
400g of potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks)
Sunflower or groundnut oil for frying
4 gluten free sausages (cut each sausage into 3 or 4 pieces)
1 small-medium onion sliced
Handful of mushrooms (optional) roughly chopped
¾ of a tin of gluten free / sugar free baked beans (if you don’t use mushrooms put the whole tin in)

The method
Preheat oven to 180C (fan) or GM6.

Boil the potatoes until they are just tender and then drain.

While the potatoes are boiling, fry the pieces of sausage until nice and brown, turning them when needed.

Add the mushrooms to the pan.

After a minute or two add the sliced onion when the sausage are really ready and cook for a couple of minutes until golden. 

Tip into an ovenproof dish and mix in the beans.

Return the pan to the heat and add the drained potatoes and fry for a few minutes, until they start getting crispy around the edges.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

Delicious and comforting, a nice twist on one of favourite combo, sausage, potato and beans! 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Macaroons workshop

Last night I was very fortunate to go to the first every Macaroon making class at the Waitrose Cookery School. Apparently they have often included macaroons in other classes, but never a class devoted solely to these lovely treats. Let me tell you, Waitrose have made the right decision. This two hour class was just the right amount of time to be taught and make a lovely set of pistachio macaroons with raspberry butter cream. Its proving pretty popular as the classes are booked up until Feb 2013!

I had to borrow my friend's macaroon photo, as I'm didn't come out.
But amazingly everybody's looked the same!
The Waitrose kitchens are still as lovely as I remember with plenty of kitchen space and a great demonstration theatre, even though there were 26 people in the class, it didn’t feel too cramped or too busy. As normal, you work in pairs to make and bake, and its always nice to do this with a friend!
The teacher, Eleni, was lovely and knowledgeable and we learnt from her experience so we could avoid the mistakes and get a great bunch of macaroons and everybody did! Eleni’s feeling was that it’s difficult to teach yourself how to make these meringue wonders, but once you’ve been shown how it’s easy to do again and from last night’s experience I am inclined to agree. Its certainly something I think I can reproduce at home.

The great news is macaroons are gluten free! But not sugar free – although I will be experimenting with xyltiol and Billington’s unrefined icing sugar to see if these work with the recipe.

The last couple of workshops I have done have been a few hours long, focusing on one thing / dish. And comparing these to the day long workshops I have done in the past, I must say I prefer the shorter more focused workshop, where you are more likely to get to gets with the recipe you are learning. With the all day workshops, I am prone to tiredness and information overload. These also have a tendency to run into lack of time issues. 

So far I have done workshop on sweet and savory gluten free, chocolate making, Mexican street food and macaroons. Hmmm... whatever next?