No time like the present..

You may need to take a seat. 😀

And, yes, there is a recipe attached to this post!

I thought it about time to both update and and write a new recipe.  As you will have noticed from some of my social media posts recently, it’s been a difficult couple of months and you begin to see things through a different lens. You pull together, close in and heal each other. Share the pain, the grief and the sorrow. You also turn the corners and build each other up; you become a little stronger.  But it does give you time to reflect.

The Book? Yes, well. Who knew these tings could take so long!? Probably a lot of people. It’s been an interesting journey and I can safely say that I have written the recipes and taken the photos. The manuscript is in some semblance of order and I think I’m fairly happy with the end result. The next steps are to find a graphic designer (that doesn’t cost the earth!) to create a new document that can be turned into something that can be published. A little exciting ? Yes, I guess it is 😀

Back to the recipe. A lovely cake (if I do say so) and made in 3 stages. Look to make the jam first, so it cools and so that you have time to enjoy the sweet smell of the raspberries cooking. Then the simplicity of the lemon sponge, followed by the making of the rather light and refreshing Cheesecake frosting.  All in, and quite mornings’ project. Ideal for anytime or even for Mother’s Day or even Easter.

Plus I’m now writing this in a pair of glasses being held together with Gorilla Glue. Because time is of the essence, 😂

Begin by making the jam;  place 250g of raspberries into a large enough solid base saucepan, with 200g granulated sugar. Place over a low heat to slowly dissolve the sugar and use a potato masher or fork, to crush the raspberries into a pulp.  Stirring as you go with a spatula, bring to a slow boil, turn up the heat and fast boil for about 4 minutes – keep stirring so the jam doesn’t stick to the base and burn. After 4 minutes turn off the heat and allow to cool in the pan. Put this to one side for now.

Preheat the oven to 160c fan/180c/Gas Mark 4 and line 3 x 7” cake tins with greaseproof paper.

5 eggs

230g sunflower oil

250g caster sugar

zest of 3 lemons

300g gluten free self raising flour

Place all the ingredients into a large enough mixing bowl and whisk (using an electric whisk or stand mixer with a whisk attachment) until light and fluffy and well combined – about 2/3 minutes. Remember to scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl half way though whisking.

Stop the machine and divide the cake batter between the 3 cake tins, place into the preheated oven and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool before removing from the tin tins and lacing on a wire rack until required.

For the cheesecake frosting:

360g full fat cream cheese

210ml double cream

juice of 1 of the lemons

150g lemon curd

Additional raspberries for decoration

Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until firm and pipable. You won’t be piping but it’s a good indicator  of firmness in texture.

To assemble the cake, place one sponge on your cake plate, smoother with half of the raspberry jam, place a second cake on top and cover this with the  remaining jam. Taking your cheesecake frosting, cover the tops and sides of the cake, as in the photo. For the lemon curd drizzle, place the lemon curd into a small microwaveable container and  just warm it through, on full power, in 2 short power bursts of 10 seconds.  Then either using a disposable piping bag or spoon, drizzle the top and sides and slightly the cover the top of the cake as shown.

Finish with the additional raspberries, place in the fridge for at least an hour or so before serving. Serve within a couple of days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sticky Toffee Ginger Pudding

I know. An actual recipe! its been a while, but its getting towards an actual pudding season; the autumn and winter months.  The nights start to draw in and the sun begins to shine a little less. Comfort food time. Although having said that, anytime is comfort food time 🙂

This is a fairly easy recipe to make and bake; add the sauce and hey presto a soft, moist and moreish pudding, fit for any time or day of the week.

I was though lucky enough to have been approached by a company called Global Foods UK who manufacture date products. Who knew? I think largely for the wholesale/trade market, they produce and supply dates, date pastes and date syrups from some of the worlds tastiest dates – Deglet Noir from North Africa and Zahidi from the Middle East. Really easy to use; the paste can be used in much the same way as dates – without the stones! The syrups can be used instead of ‘normal’ refined sugars.  There are some health benefits I believe – check their website for their details

Now for research purposes I made a batch of chocolate muffins, substituting out the sugar and using the exact same amount of the date syrup. Like any other liquid sugar substitute it works fine. Mixes fine and cooks just as well.  The problem we have is the taste, its just not the same as sugar.

Now the date paste is another matter. Having made this pudding I can safely say that the paste is really easy to use.  Use in the same way you would dates, but the easy bit is that you don’t have to de-stone them!

I used the Deglet Noir date paste which has been put through a 3mm mincer.

Ingredients – enough for 12 people.

For the pudding;

250g date paste/chopped dates

300ml water

70g butter

140g black treacle

170g gluten free self raising flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 eggs

For the sauce;

300ml double cream

160g soft brown sugar

50g butter

Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180c or 160c fan and lightly grease a container that holds at least 1.7L and is c26cm long, c20cm wide and c5cm deep.

First off put the chopped dates (the date paste will still actually need chopping into small pieces, the water, butter and treacle into a saucepan and bring to a slow simmer for 2 minutes. The treacle will soften and the butter will melt and the dates should also soften and absorb the liquids, plus soften to make them easier to mix.

Leave to one side to cool for about 10 minutes, then tip in the flour, ginger and the eggs and beat the mixture together to form a batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cut, whilst hot, into 12 pieces.

Put to one side whilst you make the sauce.

Pour the cream, butter and sugar into a large enough saucepan and bring to a slow boil for another 2 minutes – stirring whilst it heats. The sauce should thicken a little and have a lovely ‘saucey’ look to it… Pour this over the slightly cooled ginger pudding and serve – on its own or with (more) cream.

 

Gluten Free Paradise Slice

And not a soggy bottom in sight.

I seem to be getting through my list of bakes to convert to gluten free. There was the chocolate mini rolls last year, thanks to the new series of The Great British Bake Off.

Then there was the creation of the gluten free ‘double decker’ bar… home-made nougat….ummmm 😀

Now, the gluten free Paradise Slice. But without the coconut….it’s not my favourite. Currently found in a local high street coffee chain

This is a 2 part bake, so line a small cake tin (26x16x3cm) with greaseproof paper and Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180c, 160c fan.

For the shortbread;

– 75g soft butter

– 40g caster sugar

– 80g rice flour

– 40g cornflour

Beat the butter and sugar until, light and fluffy. Sieve the two flours together onto the butter and mix until fully combined and bring together to form a dough.

Now this is a small amount of shortbread and I found it easier to roll this out, to the size of the tin, but placing the dough onto the greaseproof, covering with cling film and the rolling out to fit the size of the tin. Remove the cling film before baking, then bake the shortbread for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely before spreading the jam.

For the next bit;

150g Raspberry jam (or other dependent on taste)

90g soft butter

90g caster sugar

2 eggs

60g ground almonds

30g gluten free oats

90g dried fruit

40g halved glacé cherries

1 teaspoon almond essence

Once you have spread your jam, beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time, mix in the almonds, oats, rice flour and essence, then stir in the dried fruit and glacé cherries. Pour onto the jam, shortbread and bake for 25 – 30 minutes. There should be a light bronzed top. Allow to completely cool in the tin before removing and slicing – as 9 big slices or 18 bite size pieces.

 

Gluten free Sticky Pumpkin Spiced Cake

My secret love affair with pumpkin spice continues.  Who knew there was an actual spice that is based around a pumpkin!?  It really does add an extra element to a cake or bake. It’s not just for coffee.

This is a variation on a theme. Gingerbread cake meets sticky toffee pudding. Sticky Pumpkin Pie Spiced Cake. I guess you could even have this as a pudding if you thought about it enough…….

This one requires a little planning and forethought.

Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170c, 150c fan and line 2 x 7” cake tins.

250g stoned and chopped dates

250ml water

90g butter

90g soft brown sugar

90g Black treacle

90g golden Syrup

1 egg

100ml milk – I used semi skimmed

225g gluten free self raising flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin spice

Stage 1 – place the chopped dates and water into a pan, bring to a gentle boil, heat for a minute, then switch off and leave to cool. This could take around 15 minutes.

Stage 2 – in another pan – heat gently the sugar, butter, syrup and treacle until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Leave this too cool, again for around 15 minutes.  If these last two stages are too hot, the egg mix will scramble before it’s had a chance to even cook in the oven.

Stage 3 – whisk the egg and milk and set to one side.

Stage 4 – sift together the gluten free flour and the spice.

Stage 5 – once everything is in place and done and cool enough, add the egg mix to the date mix. Add this then to the sugar and butter mix and stir well.  Finally fold in the flour mix. Stir until everything is completely mixed in.

Pour the mix into the 2 tins and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until an inserted  skewer comes out relatively clean, with some crumb attached. The remaining heat will finish the cooking off. Leave to cool in the tins, before removing to fill.

For the filling;

130g soft butter

260g icing sugar

30ml milk (optional)

100ml caramel sauce

Beat the butter until light and fluffy, stir in the icing sugar, milk and 80ml of the caramel sauce. Beat further (I used a hand electric whisk) until you have a piping consistency.

Fill and decorate as you desire and drizzle the final 20ml of sauce over the cake to finish.

Gluten Free Chocolate And Peanut Butter Biscuits

Gluten free biscuits are a bit of a nemesis when it comes to gluten free baking.

There is a little outside-the-boxing thinking required.

‘Normal’ biscuits are held together with gluten, simple. But just look at the makes up of gluten free flour and you’ll notice that there really isn’t anything there to do this. Now in some instances – mostly I have found with sponge cakes – you can just about get away with swopping out gluten free flour for normal flour. But with biscuits, that is not the case, in my humble opinion. Simply swopping out with gluten free flour gives you a puddle (once baked) on a tray, of cooked dough. Your cut cookies merge into one large piece of something…..

Some would say that adding xanthum gum is the way forward, but there are several arguments about the long-term effects on the body that this can cause. You can read that for yourself as I am not knowledgeable in those scientific matters. For me adding too much, can actually alter the taste, so I just add it to pastry, sparingly.

So thinking outside the box, what do you add? I simple terms, I know that my shortbread biscuits are pretty crispy, they have a ‘snap’. So by keeping to this relatively easy recipe a few tweaks and you have the basis for a gluten free biscuit.

So whilst the Country surges ahead with biscuits, as seen on the new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, some of us would rather buy a packet of gluten free biscuits from the supermarket! I on the other hand struggle and strive to create something nice and edible, which I think I have found here 😀

And this was my second try at this……Dear author of a well-known bakery (2 books) in London take note….you cannot simply swop ingredients to create something for everyone. Instinctively I knew it wasn’t going to work, but I had to give it a shot. Wont be doing that again!

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c/165c fan and line 2 – 3 trays (dependant on size of tray) with greaseproof paper.

This receive will make about 20 single biscuits, or in the case 10 biscuits sandwiches.

  • 50g soft butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 90g Rice Flour
  • 70g cornflour
  • 40g extra caster sugar

Filling;

  • 90g melted chocolate
  • 50g peanut butter – smooth or crunchy
  • 20g more of soft butter
  • 100g icing sugar

To make the biscuits, beat the sugar and butter with an electric hand-held whisk until it comes together and is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Sieve in the 2 flours and beat until combined. Now you may find this ends up as ‘breadcrumbs’, which is fine, just stop with the whisk and get your hands dirty and bring the mix together to form a dough. It will feel a little dry, but it’ll work.

With the dough break of small pieces, roughly 15-20g each, roll into a ball and place on your trays roughly 5cm apart. Once you have used up all the dough, dip the base of a small glass into the extra caster sugar and then press down on the balls of dough to slightly flatten them into biscuits. If they do stick, release them from the glass using a butter knife.

Bake in the oven for about 9-12 minutes, there should be little or no browning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, before removing from the tray and placing onto your cooling rack.

To make the filling, which is rather fudge like – you are not going to be able to pipe this.

Beat the butters together, then beat in the icing sugar and pour in the melted chocolate. You should have som thing resembling fine breadcrumbs, but you need to then bring this together with your hands to form a ball.  From this, roll small balls of fillings, roughly 20g each, and use to sandwich between 2 biscuits. Repeat until you have filled all the biscuits.

Cover or serve.  They should last 2 – 3 days, if they haven’t all been eaten first.

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…

 

 

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.