Gluten Free Macadamia, Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake

Now, I haven’t done a review of last year, it’s not something I’ve done before so not really sure of the benefits. My aim remains the same, to ensure those on a gluten free diet, by choice or by design can access a variety of bakes relatively easily.  That they can see that having coeliac disease means not having to be different and baking and then the eating, can be enjoyed by everyone.  Bakes don’t have to be widely different and that adapting recipes is possible.

We have found that Noah will eat well as long as everyone else around him is eating the same.  The difficulty comes when he stands out, when he becomes different and the choices he has are limited.  Companies can learn a lot by this.  Children don’t usually want to be different in their early years, they don’t want to stand out, they want to be equal.  Generally, children’s menus when eating out with coeliac disease, are not putting children on the same level. Small changes to ingredients and some thinking around menu design can and will, make all the difference.  My experience as a chef currently means that eating out, and trusting establishments, is something we don’t do.  There are exceptions, yes, but they are still few and far between.

That said then with baking, it is also about me trying something different.  But does different mean being obscure?

This gluten free cake is wonderfully moist with the flavours all pulling together with each bite.

Preheat the oven to gas 4, 170c, 150c fan and line the base of a deep 8″ sandwich tin with greaseproof.

  • 150g gluten free self raising flour
  • 100g whole macadamia nuts
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 100g melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons almond essence
  • 50ml sour cream
  • 200g Raspberry Jam
  • 100g white chocolate – melted
  • additional 140g very soft butter
  • 140g icing sugar

Firstly weigh 40g of the nuts and crush them slightly and 100g of the caster sugar. Put this into a saucepan to create a macadamia praline.  Stir in 4 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil and then heat until you have caramelised the nuts. This should take around 5 – 6 minutes.  Pour the praline onto a piece of greaseproof to cool and to use later as a garnish to the finished cake.  If you leave the nuts whole, when blended the oil from the nuts will make the praline soggy. Tasty, but soggy.

For the cake then take the 150g gluten free flour and the 60g  of nuts and blend these together to form more of a ground ‘nut flour’.  Blended, or grounding, the macadamia nuts on their own will just create a soggy unworkable ‘mush’.  By adding the flour, it helps to soak up the oil from the nuts.  If the nuts are not ground enough, blitz for another minute or more.

Once you have your ground flour mix, place this the eggs, sugar, oil, melted butter, essence and sour cream all into the mixing bowl (I used a table top, stand mixer) and beat well for, again, 5 – 6 minutes until you have a light fluffy batter.

Pour into the cakes tin and bake for around 45 – 50 minutes.  Check with an inserted skewer to see if its done, if it comes out clean it is. If not, pop back in for another 5 minutes or so.

Once baked remove from the oven, allow to cool, before then removing from the tin and leave to cool completely before icing.

Once cooled down, carefully slice the cake into 3 slices, spread with jam and place the cake slices back to form the cake.

To make the praline crumbs, just place all the set, caramelised nuts into a blender and blend to a crumb.

To make the icing beat the butter until its light and fluffy, stir in the icing sugar and beat again, pour in the melted white chocolate and beat again until well combined.

You can then either spread the icing onto the cake or pipe and sprinkle on the praline crumbs

 

 

 

Gluten Free Honey and Lemon Cupcakes

And so we move now into Spring.

The evenings are getting lighter, colour begins to take its hold in the garden and Easter is just around the corner. Next stop summer….

So some light cupcake baking to throw into the mix, to add some colour to the kitchen

gluten-free-honey-and-lemon-cupcakes

Pre-heat the oven to gas 4/180c and line a 12-hole cupcake tray with cupcake liners – I chose yellow 😀

For the cupcakes –

  • 150g soft butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g honey – ideally not a cheap one as you need the flavour of the honey to shine through. You could use acacia or thyme.
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g gluten free self raising flour

For the filling –

For the topping (a meringue) –

  • 2 egg whites
  • c150g caster sugar (if you weigh the egg whites, you’ll need twice the amount of sugar)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • extra honey to drizzle

Beat the butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time, you will find you will need to add a tablespoon of gluten free flour to keep it from curdling. Once the eggs have been beaten in (I used a hand-held electric whisk) add in the flour and divide between the 12 cupcake cases and bake for about 20 minutes. Or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool before removing from the tray and transferring to a wire rack..  You can then make the meringue topping.

Place the sugar onto a tray and warm gently in the oven. Whilst the sugar is warming, whisk the egg whites to a stiff peak. Remove the sugar from the oven and add the warm sugar to the stiff egg whites  2 tablespoons at a time. Taking care between additions to ensure the sugar has been completely whisked in.  Continue whisking until the meringue is nice and shiny. You also need to make sure the sugar has dissolved into the meringue. You can find this our by pinching some of the meringue between your fingers. If the mix is smooth you are done.  If you can still feel the sugar crystals keep going.

Now depending on your mixer it could be done in around 10 – 15 minutes – or if it’s an older version (like mine) – longer.  But its worth the wait. The finished meringue will be nice and smooth to eat.

Before you top the cupcakes, scoop out the middle (or use one of those fancy cupcake hole makers) of each cupcake and put a teaspoon of lemon curd into each hole.

Once you have your finished meringue put into you piping bag – with nozzle of choice – and pipe onto the cupcakes with your desired pattern of preference.

Glaze under a very hot grill, or use a hand-held bakers’ blow torch to give the meringue some colour. Please take care which ever you use,  make sure you take necessary precautions if using a blow torch. The naked flame is hot and will burn! It stating the obvious perhaps, but its easy to lose concentration.

To finish – drizzle with some extra honey and sprinkle the lemon zest over the tops and enjoy.

Ad – if like me you need a new whisk, click the link to Amazon and get yourself a new one

http://amzn.to/2mbrqp4

hand-held-electric-whisk

 

 

Gluten Free Gingerbread and Gluten Free Stuffing

In my ongoing quest to get to grips with the blog I like to try out another little review.

The lovely people at Delicious Alchemy asked if I would like to try out some new products prior to launch. Having no idea what they would be – I love a secret challenge – I said ‘Yes’. What could these new product/s be I wondered?? I duly waited for the parcel to arrive…

The tension mounted….

The box arrived… but shhhhh I mustn’t say a word, but of course I would love to play around with them 🙂

First up out of the box….

Gingerbread mix!  Gingerbread Biscuits – gluten free too!

gluten-free-ginger-biscuits-da

The smell from the open packet was divine. The guys were certainly going to love this. And, again, if mixed with a dairy free alternative you would have dairy free and gluten free biscuits. But I made them with butter so just the gluten free for us.

Again simple enough to make, but leave a bit of time a side to make these as they need resting in a fridge/freezer. Once poured into a bowl you mix the mix with golden syrup and butter (or DF alternative). And preheat the oven to 180c/Gas 4. Mix the mix well, wrap in cling film and pop into the freezer. Although I popped it into the fridge for a bit longer.

Once ready to roll (pardon the pun) cut the dough into 4 and roll each quarter between to ‘sheets’ of cling film to a thickness of around 5mm! and then cut out with your desired cutter.

Now it depends on how big your cutter is as to how many biscuits you get. I got about 10 biscuits out of the mix, but the cutter I used are rather big.

Place the cut gluten free gingerbread biscuits onto a lined baking tray and bake for about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing from the tray.

These did not last long at all. They tasted fantastic. Crispy and chewy. I didn’t want to add too much icing, as I needed to taste the biscuit, but of course you can top these with whatever you can. I put some chocolate eyes in place so that you can tell what they are…. #Halloween.. They only just lasted just the day!.

Next up. some Sage & Red Onion Stuffing…such generosity

I had a couple of ideas for this…but ultimately it was for what it said on the packet.. some stuffing. And as timely as it came, we had a very impromptu roast chicken dinner on a Saturday night and this was going to be a great accompaniment. The mix is not only gluten free but also dairy free 🙂

Gluten free Sage and Red Onion Stuffing

Once poured out into a bowl, the stuffing mix is finer than most traditional stuffing mixes and you would be forgiven that the final made mix is therefore finer. The stuffing mix is made up of gluten free crumbs, dried red onions and dried sage. To this you add olive oil and boiling water, mix well and leave to stand for the crumbs to absorb the liquid. Now here of course I did something a little different.

Most people would make little stuffing balls. Once the mix is cool enough, roll an amount of the stuffing into a ball using your hands. Place the balls of stuffing onto a sheet of greaseproof on a tray and bake in the oven – 200c or Gas 7 – for about 20 minutes.

However because time isn’t always on our side in this old house, I lined a little dish with greaseproof and put the whole lot in, to make one big piece of stuffing. Popped it into the oven and baked it for about 30 minutes, until lovely and crisped on the top.

When all was done and dinner was served, the stuffing went down a treat. Despite the smooth nature of the stuffing, it tasted great and was a great gluten free accompaniment for  dinner. Thank you DA 🙂

There is a Christmas Cake mix as well! But I haven’t made that yet…its only a matter of time..

Thank you Delicious Alchemy for the opportunity to trial these new products and just because I was supplied these, the end result and opinion is most certainly mine.

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

I do like to try to mix things up occasionally. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

We’ve had a few visitors over the past few weeks, the school holidays playing havoc with the normal routine (But then what is normal?) and it’s been a little chaotic!  Sometimes I’ve had time to bake, other times, sadly not. And in the hope of bettering myself I even baked some gluten free Caramel Shortcake for a job interview!! I was asked to talk about something I’m passionate about……. 😀

I think I’ve said it before, planning what to bake normally ends in epic failure! Make-it-up-as-I-go along mostly works out well and this was one of those occasions.

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 3 / 160c and line a small baking tray (20cm X 10cm) with greaseproof paper.

 

Gluten free Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

90g soft butter

80g soft peanut butter

160g soft brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

120g gluten free self-raising flour

40g Cocoa (I used Food Thoughts)

40g ground almonds

1 tsp bicarb of soda

200g chocolate (I use Callebaut)

80g melted butter

1 Bag of Reece’s mini peanut butter cups

First of all scatter about half the bag of mini chocolate peanut butter cups on the base of the baking tin.

Then mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Beat the butters with the  brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time. I used a stand food mixer, so I also had to remember to scrap the sides occasionally. When beating in the eggs leave the to beat in well before adding the next. Ensure the mix is smooth and not curdled. Mix in the vanilla extract. Then alternate mixing in the sour cream and dry ingredients. Dry – cream – dry – cream – dry. Until all mixed in well. Pour over the scatter mini cups, smooth out to an even surface and bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30mins.

Leave to cool for about 30 minutes before removing from the pan, and making the topping.

Melt the chocolate – in a microwaveable bowl – in 30 second bursts. Or in a bowl over simmering water. Ensuring no water gets into the chocolate and the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl.

Once melted stir in the melted butter and pour over the chocolate cake. Spread evenly and then decorate with the remaining mini Reece’s chocolate  peanut butter cups.

Leave to cool and set at room temperature before cutting as it will cut easier. If you need it quick pop in the fridge. But beware……it’ll be harder to cut.

As with most gluten free fresh bakes,  it’ll only last a couple of days before it starts to dry out. The chances are though it won’t last that long😃😃

Enjoy 😀😀😀

 

Coeliac Awareness Week – May 2019 – Noah’s Tale

Some things are hard to put into words.

I’m sure there are many out there, in Coeliac Awareness Week, who have a similar story to tell. But perhaps not many, a story about an 18 month old little boy.

It all began in the summer of 2012. Noah was around 18 months old and we are about to embark on a summer holiday with the family and the in-laws in France. Living as we do ‘up-North’, an overnight stay was required in Portsmouth. However we didn’t have the start we would have liked and Noah was very poorly on the way down. Something that had not happened before, but as it was his first long trip in the car, we put this down to travel sickness and perhaps one too many sweets…..

And so the holiday began. A week in a chalet in France with family around you, what could possible go wrong!  But little did we know, Noah though had already begun his painful journey and that week he barely ate and we barely slept.

We returned home a week later. Returning to our respective work places, school and Noah returned to full-time nursery.

And then the most stressful 3 months followed.  Noah’s health deteriorated rapidly. Noah wasn’t getting any better after our return from holiday and although he would eat, it wouldn’t take long for it to return out of one or another or even both ends. We would wake to him during the night screaming in pain and having just thrown up. we’d go to bed with our hearts in our mouths, hoping he’d still be breathing! We were at our wits end – the washing machine didn’t stop. But we somehow continued, tried to live our lives. We would get calls from the nursery telling us Noah had been ill and because they had a 48 hour policy, we had to stay at home with him. We both had some very understanding employers. But as soon as he had been ill, he  was much better! All smiles and laughter. It was getting a little frustrating.

Naturally we sought the help of the NHS, but to start with they were about as useful as a chocolate teapot!  But more than anything it was the screams of what we could tell was pain and discomfort. When this got magnified in a surgery waiting room, it made things more unbearable. Yes we were given medicine. Some to make home ‘stop’ and some to make him ‘go’, but Noah was losing weight fast and had become quite withdrawn. His tummy was distended, bloated. He was what we now know, malnourished. Morning after morning we would wake and not know what we would find. We were no nearer knowing what the problem was.

That was until a dear friend of ours suggested we try an osteopath. Yes and Osteo! We would try anything. After all the NHS nearby wasn’t being very helpful and so still screaming in pain and discomfort, we took Noah for his appointment. The Osteo asked us lots of questions and made some rather insightful comments. The best thing Noah could have done at that point?

He threw up.

All over the Osteo and the floor; again, afterwards, Noah was the better child again, all smiles and cheer. More importantly, the Osteo was able to look at the vomit and conclude that everything Noah was eating wasn’t being digested and was somehow fermenting in his stomach, until such time as it needed to come back up! With immediate effect we were told to remove gluten and lactose from Noah’s diet. Within the week Noah practically transformed (and so did our bank balance – this stuff wasn’t cheap!).

One small step. But we still needed to find out what was wrong with our little boy. We made a rather frustrated and overly concerned call to the health visitor and managed to get a rather hasty appointment with a doctor to urge for a referral. In the meantime bloods were taken and we were given an iron supplement as Noah’s height and weight were well under that for his age. But we were at least able to rule our Diabetes.

Over  the next couple of months, Noah came ‘back to life’, our little boy started to return, but it would still be another 3 months (some 6 months after our holiday) until the specialist appointment, for which we had to return gluten to his daily diet. But we able to make the necessary arrangements at home. A new and separate toaster, his own butter and jam. We dissected the food labels and became experts in what contained gluten and what didn’t. Cooking fresh, became the order of the day, which for us was not a problem.  Cross contamination became the watch word. The day of the specialist appointment came. We had put Noah back onto a diet containing gluten. Can’t have a positive blood count if you have removed all the gluten from the diet. We didn’t go the whole week putting Noah back onto gluten, we could tell he wasn’t very well after a day or so we removed it pretty quickly. it did not impact on the test.  The team at North Staffordshire Hospital could not have been anymore helpful. It was a delight that finally we could get some answers from someone who wanted to help. The taking of the bloods wasn’t a pretty ordeal, but it was required. But after all the questions and answers and after the test results were returned, it was without doubt, Noah had Coelaic Disease. No need for a biopsy the blood results were conclusive enough, and he wasn’t lactose intolerant.

With our prescription in hand, we returned to our local surgery and then in turn the pharmacist, who was a little sceptical at first, but they are now a little more understanding.

 

And now, Noah is Noah. He started school September 2015 and we turned a new chapter in his gluten free life. He has started to learn more about what he can and can’t eat. He has also come under the responsibility of others; school and his local scout group, they have been both helpful and understanding; we don’t want all the hard work to come undone. Noah has now had 5 years of great blood tests and we continue to be under the specialist care of North Staffs Hospital, even if that is further away than our nearby hospital, he will continue to have his annual check up there as they are fantastic.  Noah knows that he has Coeliac Disease, he knows that he needs to eat foods that are Gluten Free.

Our new greatest hurdle is getting Noah to try different foods, there seems to be a something that is within him that distrusts food. If we are not there to ask or check with, he won’t eat. He needs that reassurance. As he grows he will find out for himself  more and more of what his body can and can’t take. As he grows the choices will be wider, as, we have seen the food industry adapt. Who knows where this will lead in the coming years, as there is still a long way to go for certain parts of the catering industry yet to adapt and remain consistent in their approach to allergies, intolerances and disease.

But for now Noah, you are gluten free and you cannot be ‘normal free’

For further reference the following websites are all you need

http://www.coeliac.org.uk

http://www.isitcoeliacdisease.org.uk

This is a revised and updated post from 2015