No-Bake Gluten Free Ginger and Coffee Bean Cheesecake

Number 3 and the final recipe in the collaboration with The East India Company.

This one is perhaps the more flavourful of the recipes, the cold refreshing taste of the cheesecake, but with the warmth of the Rhubarb and ginger jam and the lovely crunch of the enrobed coffee beans and gluten free ginger biscuits. A wonderful combination and one recipe that is relatively quick and easy to make.

No-Bake Gluten Free Ginger and Coffee Bean Cheesecake

 

1 x 8” (20cm) deep, loose bottom cake tin

• 300g gluten free ginger biscuits
• 80g melted butter
• 60g Latte Beans

Place the gluten free biscuits and the coffee beans into a sandwich bag and crush well using a rolling pin. You need to get to fineish breadcrumbs so that the base sets well and in one piece. You could of course use a food processor! Then stir in the melted butter and mix well. Push the biscuit and coffee bean crumb onto the base of the cake tin and push up a little up the side of the cake tin. Place in the fridge whilst you prepare the filling.

For the filling;

• 560g full fat Cream Cheese (2 packets)
• 70g icing sugar
• 250ml double cream

• 200g Rhubarb with a Hint of Ginger Jam

For the filling; using an electric hand whisk beat the cream cheese and icing until smooth (30 seconds), then add the double cream and whisk until stiff, 3-4 minutes.

Remove the biscuit base from the fridge and spread 2-3 tablespoons of the Rhubarb jam on top of the biscuit base then pour the cream cheese mix on top, smooth down and tap on the bench to remove any air. With the remaining jam, stir this into the top of the cream cheese mix and swirl around the surface.

Return the cheesecake to the fridge to set for at least a couple of hours. Serve decorated with additional Latte Coffee Beans

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Gluten free Ice Cream Sundae

This is the 2nd of three recipes that I worked on, in collaboration with The East India Company.

The brief – something quick and easy. That can be thrown together in a matter of minutes (if you have everything to hand!! 😀). You may have some gluten free brownie, or some chocolate cake left overs….I know!!! Who has these left over! But some might 😀 You could have course make your own and then create the following. I did have a bit of fun making these and even more fun eating them 😀😀 🤫🤫

Last Minute Ice Cream and Chocolate Brownie Sundae

Should you be lucky enough to have the following available in your fridge and cupboards this is a wonderful ‘use-up’ of;

Vanilla ice cream (but will work equally with caramel, chocolate, raspberry ice creams)
• Chocolate sauce (or easily made with 100ml double cream, 60g chocolate and a teaspoon of spiced drinking chocolate)
• Chocolate sponge/brownie pieces
• Strawberry and Pepper Jam, by the lovely East India Company, no less!
• Whipped cream
• Salted Almonds or Latte/Cappuccino Beans to decorate (from The East India Company……) you could just sprinkle on some nuts or chocolate buttons 😀

To assemble;

Pour the chocolate sauce (can be slightly warmed) in and around the side of an everyday glass, or sundae dish, place some warmed brownie or sponge covered in jam, into the base of the glass, top with ice cream, bit more sauce, bit more brownie covered in jam, bit more ice cream, top with cream, finish with some more chocolate sauce and adorn with nuts or coffee beans. Dig in!

 

Gluten Free Spiced Chocolate Muffins

It’s not everyday that you get approached to write some recipes and when you do, there is a little jump for joy.

Over the summer I was approached by the rather lovely team at The East India Company to write some recipes based around some of their products. Once the brief was explained and the various recipes created I came up with 3 rather moreish and decadent ideas. The team at The East India Company also graciously sent me the products over to use – see the photo at the end of the post.

The first of which I’m sending to you now, my lovely subscribers, as the Company has just released the entire set of recipes on their website.  Over the next couple of weeks you can have your own recipes delivered to you in-box. I know, I’m too kind 🙂

So here you go, enjoy.  You can also click the link to their website to buy these rather indulgent treats – to eat on their own or for baking (the coated macadamia nuts are amazing)

Spiced Chocolate Muffins

• 225g very soft butter
• 200g caster sugar
• 255g gluten free self raising flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 30g Spiced drinking chocolate – The East India Company drinking chocolate is Chai Spiced – and its delicious.
• 30g baking cocoa
• 150ml semi skimmed milk

• Plus – either 12 crushed Macadamia Nuts covered in chocolate OR 70g crushed Cappuccino Coffee Beans (all can be crushed in a sandwich bag and bashed with a rolling pin, not too much just enough to break them up)

Pre heat the oven to 160c fan, 180c, Gas 4 and lime your muffin tray with 12 tulip muffin cases.

Place all the ingredients into your mixing bowl and beat altogether until well combined and you have a light and fluffy batter that has increased in volume. This should take about 6-7 minutes.

Place around 2 tablespoons of the batter into each of the muffin cases and place into the oven to bake for 20 minutes at 20 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle on the crushed nuts or coffee beans and return to the oven to finish cooking, which should be another 2-3 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Sprinkle on some additional freeze-dried raspberries if you are using the Macadamia Nuts, as they work well together. Enjoyed best within a day, even better when they are not long out of the oven!

The start of a new normal

Its been a while since my last post.

That feels so much like a confession! Not being a natural writer and trying to find something vaguely interesting to write about,  is something I work hard at. Although I have found that the more time to think about something the harder it becomes to write something. Whilst having just a header can actually be more productive.

Its been an odd last few weeks. The school summer holidays have now been and well and truly gone. In the main it felt like we were all apart for the best part of 4 weeks! With the length of the school holidays it becomes almost a military exercise in precision organisation, so that we don’t pay over the odds for child care. Work holiday time, does not equal school holiday time, which has meant we spent a couple of weeks apart. It’s how it is and we just get on with it, perhaps not ideal but we make it work 😀  We almost began to forget who we were!

Then before we knew it, there was the last-minute rush to get everything together for the first day back at schools. Noah’s first day back was the easier option as he has moved up one year in the same school. His sister however,  has now started senior school! Which has been a HUGE learning curve for us all after week one. It’s meant getting a bus to school – with a bus pass! Organising her own school meals and getting herself around a huge school, roughly twice the size of her junior school. It’s been a huge thing. It feels like, just overnight she has had to grow up so quickly. From being taken to school, to getting herself there. From being cooked for at home, to preparing her own snack when she comes back from school (of course she has had some excellent tuition on that front 😀😀). She has taken it all in her stride of course and we are very proud of her.

Fancy some quick cake to celebrate and to celebrate the start of the new series of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 😄? Oh and the continuing twitter bake of challenges of the #gbbotwitterbakealong run by the @thebakingnanna1 and @Rob_C_Allen The weekly challenges follow the 3 bakes of the GBBO series and everyone can enter, pop over to twitter to find out more.

Preheat the oven to gas 3, 150c fan, 170c and line a small brownie tin (c24cm long, 15cm wide)

– 170g soft butter

– 160g caster sugar

– 3 eggs

– 100g ground hazelnuts

– 90g gluten free self raising flour

– 30g Cocoa

– 160ml milk

Very easily place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk (either using a stand mixer or hand held electric mixer) until fully blended and it becomes light and fluffy – about 5/6 minutes.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile you can make the ganache topping.

– 150ml double cream

-130g cooking chocolate, broken into small pieces to ease melting

– 2 tablespoons of chocolate hazelnut spread

Place the chocolate pieces and chocolate spread into a glass bowl.

Heat the cream in a saucepan, stirring continually, until just before it comes to the boil. Pour the hot cream on top of the chocolate, leave for about a minute and then stir the mix until the chocolate has melted and you get a lovely, silky smooth paste, then pour this on top of the cooling cake. Allow to cool completely and for the ganache to set before removing from the tin and cutting into equal pieces.

I’ll be watching bread week on the GBBO with interest and the longing of kneading bread.

What to say and what to bake

Inspiration comes and goes. Search for it and you can’t find it, as hard as you think and look it just come. So stop and do something completely different and all of a sudden the idea/s come flooding.

I have tried with this blog to try and both be creative with something new and also to create cakes and bakes that vaguely replicate what is already available for the ‘normal’ eaters. It’s those new and creative bakes that are the stumbling block. It’s like I need a muse, someone to bounce ideas with/off and  develop them, or just someone there! Now of course you could say that  that muse is all around me, in a way it is. Something different wouldn’t go amiss.

And yet the bakes over on my social media outlets continue. I just can’t write them all down in the blog, it would take so much time and your in-boxes would get further full, to the point of being ignored! I’m sure some do that, it’s understandable, we are bombarded everyday, all day, by the next ‘thing’, I may add to that, hence why I have scaled back recently, tried to write more, to give the reader something to read and absorb. Also whether it’s read or not, it gives me a chance to ramble on, it’s very liberating 😀

Currently just over half way through the school summer break, it’s been very different this year. Due to the amount of school holidays and the lack of the holidays given in the commercial world, we’ve all pretty much been apart, it’s how it is, no grumbles, we just get on with it.  It’s given time for reflection and appreciation. Of what and who we have around us. The house has been very quiet in recent weeks with everyone’s coming and goings, too quiet. Almost.  In order to keep busy I’ve been able to feed the creative element in me, to be able to find the missing muse.  Mind you it could just be the summer break and life, that takes priority. Cakes don’t yet pay the bills!

And so to cake…..

Gluten Free Butterscotch Mousse Cake…. not for the faint hearted!

For the cake..

Grease and line 1 x 8″ (20cm) deep cake tin and preheat the oven to gas 3, 160c, 140c fan

  • 300g soft butter
  • 80g Angel Delight Butterscotch flavour !! I have just discovered a 12 serving ‘jar’!!!
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 240g gluten free self raising flour

Cream the butter, Angel Delight and the sugar until light and fluffy – at least 5 minutes in the stand mixer and remember to scrap the sides.

Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Adding a little gluten free flour with each egg if you feel you need to, in order to stop the mix from curdling. Be patient with the sponge and get the eggs beaten in well before adding the next one.

Pour the batter (adding a splash of milk if required, to get that ‘drop’ off the spoon) into the cake tin and bake low and slow for 50 – 55 minutes. Or until and inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin, before removing it and cutting it in half, horizontally.

Why the deep cake tin I hear you ask….?

Well…

For the Mousse..

  • 300g white chocolate
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature – separated
  • 230ml lightly whipped double cream

Over a simmering pan off water, melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl, ensuring NO water gets to the chocolate. Stir regularly so as not to over heat the white chocolate, otherwise it will seize.

Lightly whip the double cream, until just as it comes together and you get a ‘trail’ left behind by the whisk.

Whisk the egg whites until double the volume and they reach stiff peaks (if you turn the bowl upside down, they’ll stay in the bow!)

NOW be careful and don’t panic!!!

The egg yolks should be at room temperature or at least ‘warm’, the white chocolate should also be warm and not set then beat the egg yolks into the white chocolate, one at a time.. The mixture will look as though it has seized and will lump together. GENTLY fold in the egg whites, a third at a time, and the mixture will slowly relax and become more ‘mousse like’.  The gently fold in the lightly whipped cream – looking even more like a mousse.  There may be some lumps in the mix, so put this through a sieve to make a smooth mousse.

To assemble;

Place one half of the cake back into the cleaned, deep cake tin. Cover this with half of the white chocolate mousse. Place the other half of the cake on top of the mousse and cover with the remaining mousse.  Place in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

While you wait you could make the butterscotch sauce to go on top;

  • 50g butter
  • 100ml double cream
  • 80g light brown sugar

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, pour in the cream and sugar, bring to a slow simmer, and continue to simmer for about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool, before spreading over the set mousse cake – with in the tin, or once you have removed it prior to serving.

As this is made from raw eggs, only keep this for a couple of days at most.

 

 

 

being a parent and being proud (and a cake)

As a parent, there are many moments in the life of your child/children when you could use the phrase ‘proud parent’ moment.

Proud Parent. Is this an over used phrase? Possibly not.

We should rightly be proud of our children as they continue to reach certain milestone in their lives. Their first steps, eating their first solid foods, potty training success, starting school, their first Christmas performance and finishing school. And everything in between. This past half term we have – as have most parents with children the same age – been on an emotional rollercoaster. Noah finishes his infant part of the school and is ready to go up into ‘juniors’. His final, year-end assembly was a general highlight of his past year and sung to one of the songs from ‘The Greatest Showman’ had me in tears, I was in bits!

Noah’s sister on the other hand actually finishes primary education this year! Where the hell did those years go??!! In the final run up to the end of term we’ve had the SATs results.  Results to be proud of, bearing in mind she has dyslexia, they are pretty amazing. We have a Prom to prepare for (whether or not a primary school should have one is out for debate) and the end of year, end of school final, end of days assembly to watch. I don’t think I will be able to cope. Tissues will be at the ready, in bulk form. I then have to go on a 4 hour WebEx meeting afterwards! It’ll be something of an anti-climax.

But, who is proud of whom?

Are we proud of our children, or are we proud of ourselves for getting our children safely to this point in their lives? Should it come as such a surprise that after all the hard work, love, sweat and tears that our little bundle of joy/s has attained such giddy heights in life as to have done what they have done? We have loved and cherished every moment of there so far, short lives. We have worked hard to get them to eat properly, with a knife and fork (mostly), we have ensured that their diets are healthy and their plates have been full. We have run around the house with the potty, and cleaned up afterwards when they missed. We have taken them and picked them up from school as often as we can (as working parents we can only do so much). We have taken them to and from the various clubs.

We have in fact, put just as much time into this relationship as they have, so quite rightly, we should be just as proud of ourselves as we are of the little cherubs and their feats of success and progression.

God bless the parents – we do an amazing job and to see all our hard work burst into song on stage at the end of year play – cry for all the tea in China – because you can and you should.

And may you enjoy this little cake with friends after the morning assembly, with either a cup of coffee or a stiff G&T to calm the nerves. Dollop on a spoon of yoghurt or clotted cream and away you go.

Preheat the oven to gas 3/170c/150c fan and line and grease an 8″ deep cake tin.

For the cake;

  • 40g pistachio nuts (no shells)
  • 50g hazelnuts

Place these into a food processer and ‘blitz’ until you have a fine breadcrumb mix. No more than 2 minutes should do the trick. Remove from the bowl and put to one side.

Then;

  • 170g soft butter
  • 140g gluten free self raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 90g runny honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Place all the ingredients into your mixing bowl (I used a table top stand mixer) and beat them all together until light and fluffy and fully combined. Beat for a bout 4 – 5 minutes and then pour into the cake tin.  Sprinkle over the blitzed nuts on top of the cake batter and bake for about 40 – 45 minutes. Or until an inserted skewer or cake tester comes out clean.

Take out of the oven and place the cake, in its tin, onto a large plate.

Whilst the cake is in the oven, you can prepare the honey syrup;

  • 200g runny honey
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Rose Water

Place the 3 ingredients into a small saucepan and over a low heat, warm the liquid up. This should only take a couple of minutes, it doesn’t need to be boiling hot, just warm enough to liquefy the honey and warm enough to combine the ingredients.

Once the cake has been removed from the oven, pour over half of the honey liquor and allow this to fully soak into the cake – 20 – 30 minutes.  Then finish off with the 2nd half of the honey mix.  When pouring over the cake, make sure you pour some liquid around the edge of the cake and tin – leave no surface in-covered.

Allow the cake to then fully absorb the liquor – and fully cool –  before carefully removing the cake from the tin and serving. It’ll be quite rich, so careful on the slicing.

 

Summer Days

What a summer it has been so far! 😀

For so long you’d have to go abroad for the weather we’ve been having here in the UK. It’s been pretty amazing – although I’m sure there are those who think it’s a bad thing. There are always winners and losers.  For so long, we’ve had the strawberries, the G&T and the Pimms, just not always the weather to match. At least not for any length of time. So this is what it feels like to have a proper summer! Love it 😍

Whether or not, the fact that our national football team has been performing above expectations in the World Cup, is and will be, a matter for some debate. For me the fact is, that there is for now, something in the air. A real positive vibe, a buzz. And I can take that for as long as we’ve got it.

Long live summer and long may we have the time to enjoy the Pimms and the strawberries, in our gardens and open spaces. For long into the evening, for as long as it stays warm. It’s what a summer should be.

And to enjoy these summer days and evenings – a lovely Moist Strawberry, cream and Pimms Cupcake 😀😀🍓🍓🍹🍹

Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with cupcakes cases and preheat the oven to gas 4, 180c, 165c fan.

150g soft butter

135g caster sugar

3 eggs

140g gluten free self raising flour

30ml Pimms

milk to loosen the batter if required

Pop all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and using a hand held electric mixer and beat the lot together until light and fluffy and well combined.

Divide the batter between the 12 cases and bake for 24-28 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

120g strawberry jam

10 strawberries

30ml more Pimms

300ml double cream

20g icing sugar

12 mint leaves

You could do this next bit whilst the cupcakes are baking – carefully cut each strawberry in half from stalk to base, keeping the stalk in tact. Place them in a small breakfast bowl cut side down and pour over the Pimms. Leave this then to soak, for as long as possible. At least an hour and if you are really planned – overnight. You’ll get a lovely rich Pimms Syrup.

When you are ready to decorate, whip the cream with the icing sugar until stiff.

Scoop out the middle of the cupcakes and place around 10g of jam into the hole (more if you want to 😀), then pipe the whipped cream onto each cupcake and decorate with half a strawberry, mint leaf and a little of the liqueur left in the bowl.

Sit down and your cupcake with either a glass of Pimms or if you really want a treat, you can use the left over strawberries in a glass of prosecco or two.