Gluten Free Strawberry and Rhubard Frangipane

There are just so many strawberries around at the moment and besides making jam with them, eating them plain (with a bit of cream!), why not make a lovely refreshing frangipani tart with the last few odd squishy ones at the bottom of the punnet. You could of course make just a strawberry one, but in the spirit of balance, I mushed up a few strands of stewed rhubarb we had knocking around in the freezer.. as you do!!

And here is yet another chance to practise your gluten free pastry making skills, I do like to help.

First to make the pastry to line an 8″ fluted flan dish; Which you will be required to bake blind later on.

  • 200g gluten free plain flour
  • 110g cold diced butter
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of xanthum gun
  • 1 egg yolk
  • about 30ml of cold water to bind

I used a food processor to mix the flour, x gum and butter into fine breadcrumbs, you can of course use your finger to rub to the same stage. It does help though if you have cool/cold fingers though. Add in the egg yolk and sugar and stir to mix then add in the cold water a bit at a time until the mix comes together to form a dough. You can get away with the dough being a little on the sticky side as the flour will soak up some of this as you work it and as it rests.  Roll into a ball, cover in film and pop in the fridge to rest, for at least 30 minutes.

You’ll then need;

  • 120g strawberries crushed with the back of a fork – drained and juice retained plus a few extra for decoration if required)
  • 80g stewed rhubarb (you can use from a tin if you don’t have any to hand) – drained and juice retained
  • 100g Soft butter
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence (optional)

Whilst the pastry dough is resting you can make the frangipane;

Beat the soft butter and the sugar until white, light and fluffy then beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add in some of the ground almonds if it begins to curdle. Finally fold in the rest of the ground almonds and the optional essence.  Leave to one side.

Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180c, 170 fan

Once the pasty has rested, remove from the fridge and knead a little to bring it back to life, before rolling the pastry out to around 3mm thick and the size of the pasty tin.  Line the pastry tin, gently press into the edges,.  Leave the pastry hanging over the edges to allow for some further shrinkage.  Place in a sheet of greaseproof and cover with baking beans, then bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, remove the beans and greaseproof – take care it’ll be hot – and return to the oven for a about another 8 minutes, or until the surface has dried out and has a gentle bronze colouring. Remove from the oven and cool a little.  Once cooled and then carefully using a knife, cut the excess pastry from around the top of the flan. Follow the top of the case/tin and trim back so that you can see the flan rim underneath.  Brush out any crumbs that fall into the case.

Mix the crushed strawberries and rhubarb and line the base of the tart and gently cover with the frangipane – spreading carefully across the tart to the edge of the pastry case, but try not to cover it.

Pop back in the oven for around a further 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Serve warm or cold, decorated or not.

I covered mine with some glace icing made with the juice of the strawberries and rhubarb and brushed over the warm surface of the tart, a little meringue and some strawberries dipped in chocolate – plus extra for guests…

 

 

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Gluten free Syrup Sponge Cupcakes

Ok, so I have a sweet tooth. Nothing that comes as a shock to anyone, I don’t think…. 😀 And where does it say that you have to eat summery things in summer and comfort foods in winter? I missed that email! Sometimes you need a little bit of comfort, after all our summers aren’t all sunshine and heat. It has been known to rain on and off.

These are delicious both warm – straight from the oven or cold (served with or without a sploge of cream…) with, as shown, a spoon or two of custard. And yes the recipe makes 12 cupcakes, and you could have just one, but they are small enough to have 2…

Preheat the oven gas 5, electric fan 160c, 180c and place a small water bath on the bottom shelf keep the oven cavity moist whilst baking.

Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with your chosen cupcake case.

  • 24 teaspoons of golden syrup
  • 160g soft butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 80g golden syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 160g gluten free self raising flour
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Using the 24 teaspoons of golden syrup, place up to 2 teaspoons of this into each cupcake case. Then prepare the batter.

Beat the butter, syrup and caster sugar together until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. If the mix curdles beat in a little of the flour.

Fold in the flour and baking powder and loosen with the milk, pour into the prepared cases and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool a little – if eating hot or warm – remember the syrup will be hot, hot, hot. Otherwise allow to,cools before enjoying.

Remember the water bath in the oven will be VERY hot, so allow this to cool completely before removing from the oven.

If eating hot (with custard) the cupcake case will peel off easily, cold it’ll need a bit of help to scrap out the syrup.

 

 

Gluten Free Banana and Chocolate Loaf

You have to admit, most of us have had a great summer so far – weather wise at least. We have certainly been making the most of the new French doors, on our extension, on these warm summer evenings 😀😀

We have found though that with the warm weather, the bananas have ripened extra quickly. Not that we don’t eat enough or even that we buy too much. Oh no! It’s just an excuse to make some banana loaf 😀😀😀

And this recipe couldn’t be any easier!

Preheat the oven to 160c (fan assisted) or Gas 4 and line a 2lb loaf.

  • 75g soft butter
  • 110g light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 180g gluten free plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 ripe bananas – mashed
  • 75g chocolate chips

Blend the dry ingredients and put to one side.

Whisk the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time.

Stir in the dry ingredients, followed by the mashed bananas and chocolate chips. Stir until fully combined and then pour into the prepared loaf tin. Pop into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. Or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin before turning out. Slice and enjoy, with or without butter 😀

Gooey Gluten Free Cinnamon Slice

Never short on ideas for cakes and bakes, it’s always difficult to choose which ones make the blog. I try to make the baking varied and interesting with something for everyone, but there are a few bakes that don’t always make the page. That’s more for me and the neighbours just less for the reader 😀😀 (sorry 😂)

This little bake is one I most definitely need to share.

It was such a hit at home that it had gone within the hour it came out of the oven!! If I make this again I wouldn’t double the recipe to make it deeper, oh no! I’d double the recipe and make two!

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think this would be a hit with Noah, cinnamon can be a love/hate food, but he loved it!  So I thought I’d share the recipe.

Preheat you oven to 160c fan, Gas 4 and line a small brownie tin with greaseproof.

  • 230g melted butter – slightly cooled
  • 180g soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence ( I use Nielsen Massey)
  • 120g gluten free plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • Icing sugar to decorate

Firstly mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon, if you like cinnamon you can add a little more. It does depend on your taste. Leave this to one side.

Mix the melted butter and sugar together and whisk in the egg. You need to whisk this well for about 5 minutes or so to ensure the mixture is fully combined. Not enough whisking and the mix will separate.

Then whisk in the vanilla essence and then stir in the flour until fully combined.

Pour roughly a third of the batter mix into your prepared tin, generously sprinkle over the all of the cinnamon sugar mix, then cover with the remaining batter mix.

Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes, remove from the oven and leave to cool, before removing from the pan and either cutting and enjoying or cutting for later.

Before slicing I made up a small amount (3 table spoons) of glacé icing to pour over to decorate. You could equally drizzle with melted white chocolate.

 

 

 

Anyone for tennis? Or a cupcake?

Although there isn’t any tennis actually on the blog, it is that time of year when the world goes tennis mad as Wimbledon is now upon us.

What better way of getting into the spirit of the occasion than producing some delicious cupcakes with two very seasonal ingredients that blend well together; Pimms and strawberries.

These might not be for Noah, but they’ll go down well with a glass of bubbly 😀.

You’ll need to think ahead before doing these, as the some of the strawberries will need steeping in the Pimms before putting in the finished cupcakes. Also, with this Pimms ‘marinade’ you will need to produce a syrup and allow it to cool before adding to the cake batter.

The recipe will make 12 cupcakes.

Start by soaking 12 small to medium-sized strawberries in 100ml of Pimms, for as long as you dare, but for at least an hour. Carefully remove the soaked strawberries and put to one side.

Take that marinade and top up to 100ml of additional Pimms and place into a saucepan with 2 table spoons of granulated sugar. Heat to boiling point, simmer for 2-3 minutes, switch off the heat and allow to cool in the pan, before starting the cake batter.

Preheat your oven to 160c fan, Gas 4 and line 12 hole muffin tray with cases. Then you’ll need;

170g soft butter

140g caster sugar

3 eggs

2 tablespoons of cold Pimms syrup

140g gluten free self raising flour

To ice

140g more of soft butter

280g icing sugar

red colour (optional)

at least a teaspoon of the remaining syrup to flavour

12 more strawberries for decoration.

Cream the butter and sugar until you have a light fluffy mixture by using an electric hand whisk. Beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each egg is well beaten in between mixes. Add in th 2 tablespoons of syrup, and mix in the flour slowly, so as not to knock out too much of the air you have just beaten in.

Divide between the 12 cases and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. Or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool.

Whilst cooling you couple make the buttercream ready to pipe on.

Beat the 140g of butter until light and fluffy, pour in the icing sugar and at least a teaspoon of syrup, stir with a spoon to combine (and reduce the dust cloud that you would get if you went straight in the whisk), then whisk (using the electric hand-held whisk) until, again, its light and fluffy. Adding a tablespoon or two of hot water to make the mix ready to pipe.

Once the cupcakes are cold, scoop or core out the middle of the cupcake and place inside one of the Pimm’d strawberries, pipe on your buttercream and garnish further with another strawberry.

Deuce 🎾🎾🎾🎾

Happy Gluten Free Easter

Happy Gluten Free Easter everyone.

So, time for something a little different. Something that takes a little longer than normal, but the cake is rich and moist. Well worth the extra effort of boiling the orange. I know! boiling an orange! Who’d have thought. Could it be a new way of getting one of your 5-a-day into your diet??

Sadly probably not.

Line and grease 2 x 7″ cake/sandwich tins.

Ingredients, for the cake;

  • 1 orange – boiled and puréed
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 180g gluten free self raising flour
  • 50g cocoa (I use Food Thoughts)
  • 80ml sunflower oil
  • 70ml milk

Ingredients for the Buttercream;

  • 180g soft butter
  • 360g icing sugar
  • orange flavouring
  • orange colouring (I use Rainbow Dust Gel)
  • Chocolate or other (or not) for decoration

Start off by cleaning the orange to remove any unwanted, wax or dirt. Then place the whole orange – pierced with a knife half a dozen times (so it doesn’t explode!) – into a pan of already boiling water. Boil carefully for about 30 minutes. Carefully remove from the pan and cool a little, before cutting into quarters and blending the orange until the orange is fully ‘blitzed’ and a lovely orange puree. Leave to fully cool, before adding to the cake mix.

Pre-heat your oven to gas 4/ 180c and line 2 x 7″ cakes tins.

Place all the cake ingredients, including the cooled orange puree, into a bowl and using a hand held electric whisk, beat altogether until you have a lovely rich, chocolatey batter.  Pour the batter equally between the 2 sandwich/cake tins and bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Safely remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before running a butter knife around the edge of the tins and turning out onto a wire rack. Cool completely before filling.

To make the filling beat the butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the icing sugar (taking care initially to mix in the icing sugar with the butter to avoid the icing sugar dust cloud!). Beat until light and fluffy with a couple of drops of colour and flavour. I’d be careful about adding the orange puree into this mix as it may split.  You’re welcome to try though – let me know how you do.

Once you have the consistency you need, if its too thick to pipe, let it down a little with either a tablespoon or 3 of either boiling water or cold milk.

Using the piping bag, with nozzle of choice, pipe onto one of the cake rounds, place the other cake round on top, then finish with your piping.

Decorate with your chosen chocolate or decoration.

 

 

 

 

 

Noah’s Annual Coeliac Check-up

It that time of year again – Noah’s annual check up. For a boy of 6 it has fastly become his worst time of year. By association Hospital = injections = pain. But with some bribery we got through it.

This year University Hospital of North Staffordshire  – who have been utterly brilliant since and from Noah’s diagnosis – sent us a note to book in for a blood test.  The blood test was a week before the actual appointment.  Meaning that when the appointment came round, we could discuss the results and next steps.  Previously we had the blood test and appointment on the same day, we would then have Noah’s result by post a week or more later.  This new way made way more sense.

It also made for 2 trips to the Hospital – an easy one and a not so easy one.  Two trips that we needed to prepare Noah for, trips that he is becoming to understand and also necessary. But still the questions – Will I need to go every year? When will I be normal free? Why cant I be like my friend?  Not easy ones to answer, but at least now I can assure him with the fact that I now have to have an annual blood test.  I have recently been diagnosed with an under active thyroid.  It has given him some comfort, daddy has to have some pain too.

The blood test day came and went, we tried to make nothing of it (and I was 3 packets of Pokémon cards light) and almost passed without too much bother.  And then the wait…

Although we know we are doing everything right, that we are providing a gluten free household (it’s so much easier for us all to eat with Noah, rather than provide different meals) there is still that nervous caution.  We can’t control the school meals, but again we have some trust with them as we have not seen any adverse reactions. Oddly the only time recently we have noticed a reaction was after a trip to Pizza Express – which was very disappointing.

Appointment day arrives – Noah gets to leave school in the middle of the day, which he really liked.  The results were great. All good and a ‘well done Mum & Dad’.  Blood count was below the limit, so we continue to manage Noah’s diet (and ours), although now and after the team there were able to analyse the blood result, Noah needs to eat more protein, as his iron level was a little low – increase his meat intake.  Eating his own body weight in green vegetables was not going to be an option!

And so the journey continues, as Noah gets older, so will his tastes and so will this blog (hopefully) continue to provide an insight into Noah’s world.  There will be an interesting time coming up – and an opportunity to try foods he will have never seen before – more on that later in the year.

So onto a new recipe, soft, sweet and crunchy with a little bitterness from the berries

Line a small 20x10x3cm baking tray with greaseproof for the cake and line a shallow tray with greaseproof for the crumble mix and preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c

gluten-free-chocolate-and-blackcurrant-crumble-slices

For the sponge-

120g very soft butter

120g light brown sugar

3 eggs lightly beaten

80g gluten free self raising flour

30g Cocoa

10g Ground Almonds

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

60g sour cream

The Jam –

200g Blackcurrant Jam (or make your own – see below)

The Crumble –

100g Gluten free plain flour

70g butter

70g caster sugar

To begin with put the crumble ingredients into a food mixer and blend until you have ‘breadcrumbs’. A few short bursts on pulse should do it. Then spread the crumble mix in the shallow tray and bake for about 10 – 12 minutes or until the mix is lightly browned. And as it’s gluten free it will have all merged into one ‘biscuit’. Fear not, just leave it to go cold and break it up to form nice crispy bits . Leave to one side for now.

To make the sponge, pop all the ingredients (not the jam) into your mixer (I used a kitchen aid mixer with a beater attachment) and beat for about 3 – 4 minutes until all the ingredients are fully blended and mixed together. Pour into the 3cm deep tray and bake for about 20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from the tray.

Spread with the Blackcurrant jam and sprinkle over with the cooled Crumble … Slice and enjoy

Now I did have some Blackcurrant in the freezer and made my own quick jam. 250g of fresh (defrosted) Blackcurrants and 150g granulated sugar.  Pop them into a saucepan and bring to a slow boil, stirring and boil for about 15 minutes. Leave to cool before using.

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