Because everyone should be able to celebrate any festive feast or National Day. Here is a little twist to one special Scottish cake which could be eaten on Burns Night. After a couple of trials, I found it best to bake this in 2 stages. The first will be to make and partially bake the shortbread base and then remove from the oven, pour on the topping and finish the baking.
It will need to be left to completely cool, before cutting and eating as it will be a little squidgy.
You will need a small rectangle baking tray roughly 27cm long, 20cm wide and 3cm deep – rather like a brownie tray Then line this with greaseproof paper.
Preheat the oven to gas 3, 160c
First make the gluten free Shortbread
120g soft butter
60g caster sugar
120g Dove Farm Rice Flour
1/teaspoon Xanthum Gun
Cream the butter and the sugar until white and fluffy, this should take about 4 – 5 minutes. Sift together the dry ingredients and the mix slowly into the butter mix. it will eventually resemble breadcrumbs. At this point, pour into the lined tin and press firmly into the corners and flatten out.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and remove. Then turn the over up a fraction as you’ll need to bake the topping and it needs a good glaze to finish it off. o Gas 4, 170c
Next the classic topping.
130g melted butter
160g Light Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
50g Sliced Almonds
60g Glace Cherries – halves, if available or cut whole ones into thirds
Ensure there are no lumpy bits in the sugar, you could sieve this or just break up with the back of a spoon.
Whisk the eggs into the melted butter – which should be cooled off a little after melting so as not to cook the eggs! The melted butter should be warm enough to put your finger in. Then whisk in the sugar and the tablespoon of wine vinegar. Sounds weird, but it works. It serves as a balance with the sweetness of the rest of the recipe.
Pour this on to the half-baked shortbread and bake in the now increased heat, in the oven, for a further 25 – 30 minutes.
Allow to cool for a couple of hours prior to cutting and eating.
Should you be interested, I have used my mother’s family tartan as the background – Sutherland.
As I write, Noah is currently fast asleep on the sofa. It’s a school day, but he has a had a fever all weekend. Luckily I have a day off, so no work impact. Phew. He certainly isn’t a good patient, unlike his sister.
It’s about time I left you with another recipe. This was a bit of a surprise if I’m honest although if I thought about it, maybe not. We all love a good Carrot Cake. For me you know you are getting a lovely moist cake, nevermind the spices – which are a bonus. But it’s the moistness that makes the cake. So with that in mind, I thought I’d try to convert the recipe into a chocolate cake.
And lo and behold it works. It’s a lovely quick and easy to make moist chocolate cake to which you can add any topping you like or even, as I did, fill it as well.
The cake is also dairy free! No dairy here in this cake. Although you will of course note that I have decided to decorate with Reese’s Peanut Butter. But the choice of topping is yours, or not.
Preheat the oven to Gas 3, 160c and line & grease an 18cm square, loose bottom cake tin. It’s quite a runny mix so make sure the base is well lined.
The basic cake recipe is :
130g light brown sugar
40g dark brown sugar
175 ml sunflower oil
4 medium eggs
130g grated carrots
120g Dove Farm gluten free self-raising flour
30g ground almonds
40g Food Thoughts Cocoa
1 tsp bicarb
Firstly mix and sift the dry ingredients together and leave to one side.
Then whisk together (I used an electric hand whisk) the sugars, oil and eggs for about 5 minutes until well beaten together. Then mix in the grated carrots and stir in the dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared tin and pop in the oven for about 40 – 45 minutes. Or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin and enjoy, covered, filled or not 😀😀
After our first week back after the festivities, it’s a time to look back on what has been a new chapter in our little lives, in this corner of South Cheshire.
Out of School Club is now the order of the day. And there was of course a certain amount of trepidation that we turned this corner, but needs must I’m afraid. Number 1 daughter we knew would have no problem with this, but for Noah, this would be something completely new. And ‘new’ and Noah don’t normally mix. And as sure as eggs are eggs, Monday morning was no exception. To cut the story short with some bribery and a little corruption ( and some fellow classmates) he went in. Phew.
The new team in place in the Out of School Club have been great with Noah’s diet. I’d almost go as far to say, better than the actual school dinners! Noah has enjoyed every meal – pizza bases, chicken nuggets, and pasta. Very accommodating. To such an extent that now after week 1, Noah doesn’t want to leave and would rather go to his ‘new school’ instead of the other school, with the boring work and reading! Sorry my little boy 😉
This week has also seen a little experimenting in the kitchen. I made a Chocolate Cake last week, rather unsuccessfully, with a liquorice flavoured topping and Blackcurrant filling. It kind of worked, and kind of didn’t. But I wasn’t going to be beaten. So I ground some star anise and made a quick plain sponge and topped the end result with some rather nice Lemon Curd from Mrs Darlington’s. Result. Need to tweak it a little but, rather nice. 😀
I also bought some small gluten free pizza bases and gluten free tortilla wraps from Venice Bakery for us to try. I’ll report back with a recipe in due course. You can shop on line here in the meantime –
I have often thought how I would write another non food/recipe related post. And it struck me that whilst Noah has Coeliac Disease, there are others that do not have the ability to write blogs and bake cakes and cook easily. So here is just a snippet of what an ordinary couple of weeks looks like in our household. Albeit the last couple of weeks have been around Christmas and New Year.
Nothing fancy, nothing out of the ordinary, just plain and simple. A family of 4 living with a child with Coelaic Disease.
The weeks leading up to the festive break had been a little hectic to say the least. As I am sure most parents were with little ones at school. Performance after performance, for the final 4 weeks of winter term. Noah being in his first Nativity at school, saw him perform at least 5 times in a week!m It’s no wonder they are a little exhausted by the time they finish. We also had to endure Noah’s annual blood test and check up. Something he does not relish and we have the conversation about ‘when will I be normal free? I don’t like the hospital….’.
So when it got to the first couple of days of the holiday, we just had ‘PJ days’. And as for lunch (it has to be lunch, not dinner as our two eat so much better mid-day) we managed meat , potatoes and 2 veg. Grilled chicken, pork chops, gluten free sausages from Asda, with plain boiled potatoes and veg – carrots, Brussels (yes both of ours love sprouts!) or sugar snaps. Just plain and simple. We have found that mixing foods up in stews etc doesn’t normally work, but if the children can see the food, they eat it all! Although it does take Noah a few minutes to ‘warm up’ to eating. I’m sure some child psychologist would have a field day with us, as we all sit around the table, whilst Noah has a hissy fit on the floor! We get there in the end and no one goes hungry.
Christmas Eve was going to be tricky. Santa had already dropped some presents off for the ease of distribution, up in the attic. But getting them down would not be as easy as it was last year! Having been stirred into a ‘Christmas Frenzy’ by school, both children were in a heightened state of excitement. What to do? So I booked a late cinema viewing with number 1 daughter to see ‘Star Wars’ (great film, throughly enjoyed it) and whist we got Noah down as usual, my wife was then able to do the ‘attic run’.
And so, as we started last year, and after the presents were put around the Tree, we covered the door in wrapping paper and waited till morning. Mind you we didn’t expect SUCH an early wake up call! 4.45am!!! We managed to stall unwrapping for a couple of hours, but gave in, in the end.
We all had something different for breakfast, as was the requests, Noah had gluten free toast with Nutella, whilst I had Eggs Benedict and the other half had a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel! Our touch of luxury for the day. Mind you by mid-morning we could have easily had a second breakfast! So on with lunch – Roast Beef this year, by mutual consent. And because I had forgotten to buy gluten free Yorkies I had to make some. Based on previous batches, I wasn’t going to fail on a day like Christmas Day! They weren’t all that bad, and when I have perfected them I’ll share the recipe, these were a little to heavy for my liking, but they all got eaten. Again for lunch nothing extreme, just roast beef, roasties (in veg oil), sprouts, the last of the homegrown parsnips roasted, carrots and some red cabbage (for me and the other half). Noah didn’t want any pud, so he just broke into his Cadbury Selection Pack (minus the unsuitable bars).
We have found that Noah is more than happy (and most certainly is his tummy) with foods that are not just gluten free but also with foods that contain no gluten ingredients. His recent blood test was testament to this. Another low anti body reading, which we had expected to rise. His first term at school has been the first time since being diagnosed that we would have no control over his diet, we would have to leave this to the school caterers. Something we were apprehensive about, and had certainly made sure they were aware of Noah’s Dietary requirements. But all is good! Although I can hear a Twitter friend in my ear….’Fruit is not a Pudding….!! But to be fair Noah is very good when it comes to fruit and veg. Thankfully. We have ensured he understands that because he has a ‘poorly’ tummy he needs to eat healthy..long may this last…
And something else we have found with Noah, which is what happened on Boxing Day. When it comes to large numbers of people Noah tends not to eat. There is just so much else going on! Although we do tend to organise food before the hoards arrive – and then it’s normally sausages, pots and veg.
And there are times of guilt. As hard as it is visiting others, I often put myself in Noah’s shoes. How must he feel seeing others eat just anything, not having to ask? I can often understand why he won’t eat and I make a conscious decision not to eat the ‘normal free’ food. It’s tough. One day he’ll have to make more of his owns choices.
And so we ended the first week of the festivities, with more of the same to come. We headed up to see Grannie & Grandad, but here there were more Pyjama Days because there was no TV or wi-fi. We did have the occasional trip out, but as usual we found the gluten free offerings limited. One can surely eat gluten free Brownies so often?
And so now we look at returning to work and school. The days of leisure and festivities are coming to an end. Life returns with a bang soon and we face again the realities of normality. Whatever that is 😀😀