A new normal

I’ll try and not make a habit of this; a blog post!

I know it’s been a while and I thank those who have been visiting the site over the last few months. Whilst the World is on pause for a while, whilst a solution or solutions are being sort for the virus, there have been a lot of people searching the internet for recipes. Baking at home has become a new normal for most across the world. I hope those that have visited this site have something that has inspired them or has been useful. After all, that’s what I set out to do. I hope to be able to continue to provide something for you, for as long as I can.

I also feel fortunate enough to have been able to source ingredients. I know some people have been having difficulties and now, some 10 weeks or so since lockdown began in the UK, groceries across the country are beginning to appear more regularly in supermarkets. So hopefully you will be able to recreate these recipes once again very soon. And if not, the page isn’t going anywhere; so when you can, you’re welcome back any time.

If you feel you can afford to buy me a coffee, to contribute to the site, please do so via the ‘contribute’ page. It will be very much appreciated.

And I’m not one for these long intro’s into a recipe, on the why’s and wherefores of mixing it this way or that, that ingredient over that or any such dribble, that no one really wants to read… just give me the ingredients and recipe.  But while i’ve got you………

An actual crisp biscuit that is gluten free! It took a couple of goes but I got there in the end. Especially after the first go had no vanilla essence in!

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 5, 180c fan, 200c and line 2 or 3 Swiss roll trays with greaseproof paper

50g soft butter

60g caster sugar

1 medium egg

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

150g rice flour

50g gluten free plain flour (if your flour contains xanthan gum, DO NOT add any more)

half a level teaspoon of xanthan gum (only if it’s NOT in the flour)

1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

For the buttercream;

60g soft butter

130g icing sugar

splash of milk to make it pipe-able

80g raspberry jam ( or your favourite jam)

Simply beat the butter and the sugar in a bowl with an electric whisk until, light and fluffy, no more than a minute. Then add the egg and the vanilla and continue to beat until you have a smooth batter.

Sift in the gluten free plain flour, rice flour, bicarb and xanthan (if using) then using a spatula just mix this in until all the flours etc are fully mixed and the mixture forms a soft, ‘pastry’ dough ball.  Using your hands continue to bring together by ‘kneading’ for a few moments. You can’t really over work this dough, but it will help in the rolling out and keep it from crumbling.

Leave the dough for about 10 minutes in the fridge to firm up.

Remove the dough from the fridge and using a scattering of gluten free flour on your kitchen surface, roll out the dough to the thickness of a one pound coin (2 – 3mm).

Then, using a specific jammie dodger cutter, or similar 5cm flutted cutter, cut out roughly 36 – 40 discs, placing them on the lined baking trays in rows of 4. You will need to gather up the remaining dough, bring it together again into  a ball and re-roll, in order to get the desired amount of biscuits.

Then using a smaller cutter ( a small heart shaped cutter that allows for the jam to be seen, once the biscuits are assembled) cut out the middle of half the biscuits. One will form the base the other the top.

Place one tray in the fridge and place one in the oven to cook for 6 – 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool; then repeat with the second tray and cook that for 6 – 7 minutes as well. Allow both trays to cool and you can start to make the buttercream.

Beat the butter with the icing sugar until you have a smooth paste. At this stage you could also flavour the buttercream; I’ll leave that up to you.

Once the biscuits are completely cooled, and using a piping bag filled with the buttercream, pipe a ring of buttercream on the half of the biscuits without the hole in the top.

Then with a couple of teaspoons, place in the middle of the ring, the raspberry jam. Top with the ‘holey’ biscuit and you’re done. You should have around 18 biscuits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Free Angel Cake

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to get the cakespiration juices flowing.

This take off, of a well-known supermarket own brand cake, was created after a friend of mine – who can only eat gluten free and dairy free – commented on how bad they were and hopefully I could do better!! I love a challenge.

Challenge accepted and here is the result – as it happens one of Noah’s favourites too.  This light and fluffy slice is relatively easy to make and keeps well for at least 3 days, in a sealed container. You wouldn’t really know they were a free from cake!

Preheat your oven to Gas 3, 170c, 160c fan

Line 2 small brownie/cake trays c25cm long, c3cm deep and c14cm wide

  • 4 large eggs
  • 240g vegetable oil
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 240g gluten free self raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 drops of pink colouring ( I used Rainbow Dust pink gel)
  • 2 drops of strawberry flavouring (optional – I use Foodie Flavours)
  • 50g Stork for Baking
  • 170g Icing sugar
  • few drops of water

I would suggest making the main cake mix twice.  Firstly weigh out 2 eggs, 120g veg oil,  110g caster sugar, 120g gluten free self raising flour and a teaspoon of vanilla essence and using a hand-held mixer whisk the lot together until light and fluffy – 3 – 4 minutes.  Pour this batter into the 1st cake tin and bake for 18 – 22 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before removing from the tin.

To make the 2nd batch of cake mix, put the remaining 2 eggs, oil, sugar, gluten free flour, pink colour and optional drops of strawberry flavour and again whisk until light and fluffy, pour into the tin and bake for the same amount of time. Or until the inserted skewer comes out clean.

To make the filling – similar to that of a buttercream, without using butter, beat the Stork until light and fluffy, mix in 100g of icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and a few drops of water (this will help to spread the filling over the base of the cake) then continue beating using an electric hand-held whisk until the mix is light and fluffy – it turns a pale shade of white too.

In order to spread the filling, ensure both cakes are cool and have been removed from the tins.

Place the pink cake down first and spread over the filling then top with the vanilla cake slice.

Using the remaining 70g icing sugar, the drop of pink colouring and a few drops of water, mix up a thick, pipeable water icing.

To keep the cake looking trim and neat you may want to cut the edges off the cake before serving. Then cut the cake into as many small pieces as you can or as large as you feel, I got about 24 mini Angel Cake Slices.

Finally to finish off the cakes slices, pipe the pink icing over the cut slices, I used a Wilton number 5 piping nozzle for the drizzle.

 

Gluten Free Choux Pastry – Profiteroles

And now it’s recipe time!

I think it’s fair to say, that I have got to grips with baking cakes. Gluten free pastry on the other had is a whole different ball game. The structure of the flour is all a  bit different in gluten free baking and more often than not you end up with either a bit of a sloppy mess or something as hard as nails! But I can tell you, anything is just about possible. Having Coeliac Disease, does not mean you should miss out!

So now and in association with some fellow baking bloggers –     http://www.bakingqueen74.co.uk & http://www.thecraftylarder.co.uk and their May 2015 topic Perfecting Patisserie – I bring you – Gluten Free Profiteroles!

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Ingredients

220ml Water

120g  Butter

100g Dove Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour

60g Dove Farm Rice Flour

4 Free Range large Eggs – lightly beaten

1 tsp Nielson-Massey Vanilla Extract

Filling –

200ml Double Cream

Chocolate Topping –

100ml Double Cream

95g Callebaut Milk Chocolate chips

Method

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 6, 200c, 180c fan, and line 2 baking sheets

To make the Gluten free Choux Pastry, put the water and the butter in a pan, and heat, hove a medium flame/heat, until the butter has melted. Try not to let the water boil as the water will evaporate and you will lose some of the air needed in the pastry as it cooks. Remove this from the heat.

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Into to this then, pour in all and both the gluten free flours at once, in one go and beat until the lumps have gone and you have something resembling this….at this point the mix should be clean from the pan as shown..

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Leave this to cool just a little, as you don’t want to cook the eggs in the pan and make scrambled egg! So I suggest to leave for no more than 5 minutes. Then carefully beat in the egg mix a small bit at a time. You should need to beat all the egg mix in until you have the following…

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Which is a very pipeable mixture. It’s a bit of hard work to get to this but keep beating! This is a fairly crucial stage to the method.

The mixture should just be warm to touch and so now place this mixture into a piping bag with whatever nozzle you choose (I used a star nozzle) and then pipe onto a baking sheet, lined with greaseproof paper. You should get at least 20 gluten free profiteroles and pipe them as shown, or use a plain nozzle.

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Place place these then into the preheated oven and bake for approx 20 – 25 minutes, when then should be nicely browned and come away from the sheet. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Pearce each gluten free profiterole with a small knife/skewer to allow some steam to escape.

imageAllow to cool fully before filling and covering.

For the filling whisk the 200ml double cream. Place into the piping bag. Now I use disposable icing bags, which would allow me at this point to just snip off the end. The bag is then stable enough to enable me to pipe directly into the hollow of the profiteroles. Assemble your gluten free profiteroles as a pyramid or if your prefer straight into bowls ready to serve….

To make the sauce. Place the Callebaut chocolate chips into a small mixing bowl. Over a medium heat, warm the remaining double cream in a pan, until just simmering point, stirring occasionally, (don’t let it boil, or stick to the bottom of the pan) and then pour this over the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate has fully melted and you have a lovely shiny and smooth sauce.

Pour over the Gluten Free Profiteroles and enjoy 😀😀

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Chocolate & Peanut Butter Bundt – Gluten Free


I tell you what, these Nordic Ware Bundt pans, don’t half look fantastic!

This recipe uses the Nordic Ware Heritage (10 cup) pan and it’s certainly my favourite. Now on the surface these lovely Bundts look easy to make, and in some ways they are. But it is all down to the preparation of your pan. If you don’t prepare the pan, it might not come out in one piece – or at all!. I find this the most therapeutic part of baking the Bundt. It has to be done and it can’t be rushed. I use very soft butter, not melted and brush the entire inside of the pan carefully, ensuring that every crevice and curve, is lightly coated in butter – no lumpy bits mind! Just a smooth coating. This then is dusted with flour – I use about 2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour sifted into the pan – tap and move the pan around so all the butter is covered, tap on a hard surface so that all the flour sticks. Then turn upside down over a sink and tap again, so that all the excess flour is removed.

Now you are ready!

It’s has taken many Bundt bakes (failures included) to almost perfect a gluten-free Bundt, and this works for me. So good luck and let me know how you get on 😊

Set the oven to Gas Mark 3 and the shelf set, one level below the centre. Clearly if you using a convection oven it won’t really matter! Which is about 160c – 170c. But you know your oven. Mine is very temperamental!!

Great for afternoon tea with friends and family, should serve at least 10… But that depends on how big the slices are 😀

175g Soft butter

340g Granulated Sugar

3 beaten eggs

1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract

250g Dove Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour

40g Cocoa Powder

1 tsp Baking Powder

4 Tablespoons Smooth Peanut Butter – I used SunPat – at room temperature

80g Belgian Milk Chocolate – I use Callebaut

2 Tablespoons semi skimmed milk

240ml  Sour Cream

50ml Double Cream

To Finish –

1 Packet of Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

150g Belgian Milk Chocolate – broken into small pieces

130ml Double Cream

50ml Semi Skimmed Milk

To Make –

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together and set aside.

Beat the eggs together with the vanilla extract, set aside.

I melted the chocolate and milk in the microwave for approx 30 seconds and stirred to mix to a paste. But you could use a bowl, over a small saucepan, with simmering water, to melt the chocolate. Ensure the bowl does not touch the water, stir the milk in, after its melted. Which ever way you melt the chocolate, once it’s melted, stir in the peanut butter.

Mix the sour cream with the double cream.

Beat the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy, get as much air in as you can. About 5 minutes in a food mixer. Then pour in the egg mix slowly and ensure all the egg is beaten in well. Ensure also that you scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as you go.

Then, beat in the flour mix, chocolate mix and the sour cream mix alternately. Approximately a third of each, at a time. Until all these have been thoroughly blended in.

Spoon this mix then evenly in your prepared Bundt pan. Once all in, tap the pan on the work-surface so that the mixture gets into all the moulded pans’, crevices and curves.

Bake for approx 50-60 minutes. Test with a skewer to ensure its baked, insert into the deepest part, it should come out clean.

And now the other important part – ONCE REMOVED FROM THE OVEN – LEAVE TO COOL IN THE PAN FOR NO MORE THAN 10 MINUTES – SET THE TIMER. Once the 10 minutes is up, turn out of the pan onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before decorating.

To make the sauce, heat the cream and the milk in a saucepan, until just about to boil and pour over the broken chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and resembles chocolate sauce. Leave this to cool for a couple of hours before pouring over the finished Bundt and decorate with the Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Enjoy each slice with company and a cuppa 😀

And if you can prepare this in a day in advance, the flavours do certainly intensify 😀