Monday, 20 February 2017

Chocolate Sandwich Biscuits (Bourbons)

I still can't drive and for the last few weeks, because of roadworks,  the bus hasn't been running through the village so I'm feeling a bit isolated. I can't just pop out to the shop, so when the boys had been talking about how to decorate my Birthday cake, I had to see what I could find to add to my online food order. I found candles, sparklers and a cake board, but not the wheat free sprinkles I'd been after. But I did spot a pack of biscuit cutters (I have a bit of a weakness for biscuit cutters)... What better excuse than a birthday present to myself!
105g Gluten Free Plain Flour (I used white bread flour)
30g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
15g Cocoa Powder
60g Caster Sugar (plus extra tsp for sprinkling)
60mls Dairy & Soya Free Margarine
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract or Paste
30mls Milk Substitute

Cream Filling
100g Icing Sugar
50g Dairy and Soya Free Margarine
2tbsp Cocoa Powder
25g Melted Dairy and Soya Free Chocolate (cooled slightly)

Put dry ingredients in a bowl.
Oops, managed to post this one wrong way up!
Add the margarine (chop if using hard margarine such as Stork).

Rub in margarine until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the milk substitute and bring together with a blunt knife.

Use your hand to knead lightly into a smooth ball.
Roll out to about 3-4mm thick and cut into desired shapes.
I sprinkled mine with a little caster sugar for the authentic Bourbon look.
Bake at 180ºC for 12-15mins. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
Whisk the margarine, cocoa and icing sugar until creamy, add the melted chocolate and continue to whisk until evenly mixed.
When the biscuits are cool, fill with cream and sandwich together.
You don't have to pipe in filling, spreading with a knife works too.
I even managed to sneak one with a coffee before they all got eaten!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Rhubarb and Polenta Cake

Flicking through this month's Waitrose Food Magazine, I spotted a recipe for Sticky Rhubarb and Semolina Skillet Cake. I'd just bought some new season English rhubarb and scanning through the recipe, thought it looked an easy (ish) one to adapt for MEWS free. 
My Free From version on top of the magazine picture
I can't find an online recipe to give you a link, but I swapped the semolina for polenta, butter for dairy free margarine, yogurt for dairy free yogurt, and did a straight swap to gluten free flour. The only problem I could see being the eggs. I've never successfully replaced more than 1 egg in a recipe, even with egg replacer, and this needed 2! I didn't want it to taste of banana, so tried a combination of pear puree, egg replacer and flax egg. Seemed to work, might try without the egg replacer next time.

I think this might be the longest list of ingredients I've ever posted in a recipe (I usually try to keep it simple), but don't let that put you off.

Juice of 1 Orange (Zest it first to add to cake)
125g Caster Sugar
125mls Water

40g Dairy and Soya Free Margarine
75g Caster Sugar
10 Cardamom Pods (seeds removed and crushed)
400g Rhubarb (cut into 4-5cm pieces)
225g Dairy and Soya Free Yogurt or Creme Fraiche
100mls Olive oil
100g Pear Puree
1tbsp Ground Flax Seed mixed with 2tbsp Water
45mls Milk Substitute
Zest of 1 Organge
160g Polenta
80g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
2tsp Egg Replacer
50g Ground Almonds
50g Caster Sugar (I'm pretty sure I forgot to add this)
30g Pistachio Nuts (Roughly Chopped)

Put the orange juice, water and caster sugar in a small pan. Stir then bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes then set aside to cool (I decided mine was still too runny so put it back on and forgot about it… It had reduced to about half volume and was nice and syrupy by the time I realised).

Melt the margarine in a heavy based, oven proof, frying pan (I new there was a reason to keep the one the handle came off a few months ago!).

Add the sugar and cook for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle on the cardamom and top with the rhubarb.

Put the yogurt, oil, pear puree, flax seed mixture, milk substitute and orange zest in a jug or bowl and mix.
In a large bowl, weigh out the flour, polenta, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder and egg replacer. Mix together.

Pour in the liquid and mix well. 

Spoon onto the rhubarb and spread evenly over the top.
Bake on the oven at 180ºc for 40-50mins.
Remove from oven, pierce top with a skewer and pour over the syrup. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Turn out onto a plate to cool and top with the pistachio nuts.

Delicious served warm with custard.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Chocolate Caramel Fingers

I'm not very good at doing nothing. After a weekend of being unwell and mostly neglecting my children, I wanted to make them a treat on the Monday. Still not feeling great, I didn't really want to bake. I got this idea, in a round about way, from a fellow judge from the Free From Food Awards. She'd tried a chocolate bar last week that had puffed amaranth in and said it tasted like a Blue Riband. 

I tried puffing some, slightly out of date, amaranth I had in the cupboard, in the same way I would pop corn. That didn't work. Then I found a box of gluten free crispbreads in the  snack box and thought of making chocolate wafer bars.
Sort of followed this for a toffee recipe but the 'cream' you use may affect the hardness at this temperature. I used about half this quantity, but it made far too much so I used the rest for making pecan toffees. 

Makes 10

200g Dairy & Soya Free Chocolate
10 Gluten Free Crispbreads (I used Amisa, but Le Pain de Fleurs have a large variety & would work too)
1/2 cup (100g) Dairy & Soya Free Margarine
1 cup (plus a bit more) (160g) Soft Light Brown Sugar
1/2 cup (150g) Golden Syrup
1 cup (225mls) Dairy & Soya Free Cream (or milk substitute)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste or extract

Make the toffee according to the above instructions.
Line a tin with foil and grease well.

Lay out wafers in the base of the tin.
Pour over toffee to form a thin layer, spread evenly to edges if necessary.
When set, but still slightly warm, cut crispbreads along centre to form two rows. Stack one on top of the other to form a double layer. 

Put another layer of greased foil over the top and press down with another tin to flatten and stick the layers together.

Cut into fingers with a sharp knife.
Coat each one in melted chocolate and leave to set on greaseproof paper.

Decorate by marking with a fork. 
Or drizzle with melted white dairy & soya free chocolate.
Boys were home in time to help with the decorating,
just didn't like waiting for chocolate to set!

Lemon Drizzle Cake

For the last few weeks, M has been asking for lemon drizzle cake, so on Thursday afternoon I thought I'd give it a go in time for an after school snack. Rather than just using one of my basic cake mixes, and adding lemon, I had a quick look online for some ideas. I spotted this one, which was another of those pictures that you look at and are not convinced the picture is the actual recipe shown… Gluten free cake tends to be much paler than this. I wanted to give it a go, just to see. 

Just 2 little problems…
  • Reading the ingredients and the method, they didn't match. Add the lemon juice? what lemon juice? I guessed that it should have said zest and juice of 2 lemons, not just zest. 
  • L is allergic to chick peas, so gram flour was not an option. I considered just doing it with extra self raising flour, but having looked through my cupboard decided on substituting it for something else high in protein. 
I decided to use my Fava bean (broad bean) flour because it needs using up by the end of the month, but even with only 20g (my hand slipped), I could taste it. I think I'd just add 50g of ground almonds next time (although, then it's no use for school lunchbox!).
As expected, my cake was still very pale after the suggested time, so I turned the temperature up to get a little colour. It also sank, a lot, when it came out of the oven. That said, it was a nice moist texture inside, and the boys loved it, which is the whole point (I may have had two slices as soon as it was warm enough to cut too…). Definitely one to adapt next time, but thought I'd post the recipe now anyway in my attempt to publish more recipes than stay in my drafts folder this year!

Cake Mix
235g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
15g Gram Flour/Fava Bean Flour/Quinoa Flour/or other high protein flour. (I'm going to try with 50g Ground Almonds next time)
150g Sugar (I used a mixture of caster and soft brown)
85mls Vegetable Oil (I used mix of olive and rapeseed, which gave it a nice yellow colour)
265mls Milk Substitute
Zest and Juice of 2 Lemons

Syrup for Drizzling
3tbsp sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Weigh out flours and sugar into a large bowl.
Mix lemon juice & zest (keep 1/2 tsp back for the syrup), milk substitute and oil in a jug or a bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well with a balloon whisk.
Pour into a lined 2lb loaf tin and bake at 170ºc for 50mins (I might try 180ºc next time).
To brown cake slightly, turn up to 200ºc for a further 10 minutes.

While it's baking, add the syrup ingredients to a bowl and microwave for 1 minute until lightly boiled and clear. 
Remove cake from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Prick cake all over with a skewer and pour over the syrup. Leave in tin to cool for another 30mins before removing to cooling rack.
Tasted much better than it looked at this stage!
Not sure why this one is sideways, but you get the gist...

Monday, 23 January 2017

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Scones

It was another typical Monday, get home at 1.30, have just over an hour before getting boys from school, then heading to gymnastics, before getting home to a late dinner. One day I'll use this time wisely and sit down with a coffee, snack and a book… What I actually do is make myself a coffee & leave it to go cold while I make something for dinner. Today I though it would be a good idea to squeeze in an after school snack too! 

I'd seen pumpkin spiced something (can't remember what) on twitter earlier today and thought the sweet potato scone recipe would adapt well. The butternut squash adds enough natural sweetness so they didn't need extra sugar, but if you prefer a sweeter scone, add about a tablespoon to the flour mix

This makes 6 Scones

120g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1/2tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Mixed Spice
1/4tsp Grated Nutmeg
50g Dairy & Soya Free Margarine
100g Mashed Butternut Squash* (or tinned pumpkin puree)
1/2tsp Vinegar or Lemon Juice
30mls Milk Substitute (plus additional for glazing)

*Peel and chop about 2-3cm of the neck of a butternut squash, put in bowl, cover with cling film & microwave for 3-4 mins (depending on size of chunks) or until soft enough to mash.

Put flour, baking powder and spices in a bowl.
Add margarine and rub in until it resembles course breadcrumbs.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a knife until just coming together.
Knead lightly (don't overwork scone mix or it becomes tough when baked) until you have a smooth dough.
Tip out of the bowl and gently flatten with your hand until it's about 2.5cm thick (gluten free scones don't rise much when cooked).

Cut out scones and gently reshape dough until all used up. Place on a greased baking tray. I only managed 5 and a bit today!
Brush tops with a little milk substitute.

Bake at 220ºc for 20mins.
Great served warm, fresh from the oven. 

I made a little maple 'butter' by mixing a tsp of maple syrup with about 20g of dairy and soya free margarine, but boys were just as happy to eat the rest plain.

English Muffins (2017 version)

Not quite sure why it's so long since I last made muffins. Buoyed on by by watching Junior Bake Off, Mini Monster wanted something he could make by himself. He managed to make 6 English muffins from my old recipe (done just after he went wheat free). They were great, if a little wet inside, but had all been finished by mid afternoon. So much for having some for this weeks packed lunch! 

My expertise in MEWS free baking has come a long way since those days, so I set about making a second batch with a few tweaks (these did make it to packed lunches, but only because I split and froze some to take out as needed).
These were left under the grill a little longer than I intended...
The pictures don't quite match up with the method as some were taken while Mini Monster was making the first batch with oil, I haven't missed something from the ingredients!

300mls Milk Substitute
100mls Boiling Water
2tsp (1 sachet) Dried Yeast
300g Gluten Free White Bread Flour
60g Dairy & Soya Free Margarine (I used hard Stork that had been left out to soften, but spread would work too)
Polenta (or ground rice) for lining the tray/tins

Mix milk substitute and water in a jug or bowl. Sprinkle on the yeast, stir and set aside for 15 mins to froth.
Ignore the jug of oil, this was the first batch of the day!
Put flour into a bowl, add frothed yeast mixture and beat until a smooth thick batter is formed.
Cover and set aside for 30-40 mins until dough has expanded in size (may not double). This stage is not essential, but as a bread baker pre kids, I always preferred a double rise (think I just do it for psychological reasons now!).

Grease a tray and the inside of 6 baking rings. Sprinkle on polenta to cover evenly.
Add the soft margarine to the dough and beat again with the whisk until evenly incorporated.
Ladle the mixture into the prepared rings. Cover with greased cling film and allow to rise until just below the top of the ring.
Bake at 190ºc for 20-25 minutes, or until the muffins are just coming away from the edges of the tins.

Remove from tins and place on a cooling rack.