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 Almond and Jam Thumbprint Bites

Now, don’t get over excited….2 posts inside a week!!!

There is no other reason than the fact that these went down a storm and the four of us devoured the lot within 24 hours…….they needed to be shared with the world.

GF Almond & Jam Thumbprint BitesI also initially trialled a recipe for this a couple of weeks ago and its proved pretty popular on Instagram. So I thought I’d give it another go and make them even better 🙂 And just ahead of the school holidays in the UK, it’s also a very quick and fun recipe to put together with the children. My eldest enjoyed rolling these into balls and popping in the jam…Noah just loved eating them.

Gluten Free Almond & Jam Thumbprint Bites

175g soft butter

50g caster sugar

50g Demerara sugar

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons of almond essence

280g gluten free plain flour – I use Dove Farm

60g Ground Almonds

60g chopped Glace cherries

150g jam – I actually used Mrs Darlington’s – Summer Fruits Jam – a current favourite

Preheat the oven to Gas 5 / 180c and line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof. This will make 24 ‘Bites’

Cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks and essence. Gently mix in the flour, almonds and cherries. Mix well until all the ingredients are bound together and you get a large dough.

Gluten Free Almond & Jam Bites

Divide this into 24 balls, roughly the size of a large walnut and place onto the 2 trays. Gently press a thumb into the middle of each ball to create a hollow. At the same time, you are also flattening them, which is fine. Into these, place about half a teaspoon of your preferred flavoured jam – raspberry would also work well.

Bake one tray at a time in the oven (you could put the other tray in the fridge) on the middle shelf for about 11  minutes, they’ll bronze nicely.  Once cooked put the other tray in and repeat.. Leave to cool and then eat…. They are great cool, but rather nice still warm…ummmm

 

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

 

Double Alchemy Gluten Free Caramel Oaty Slice Recipe

Double Alchemy you say? Well yes. I was a little fortunate to win some gluten free goodies in a recent competition run by Delicious Alchemy. So I have to say this recipe cost me nothing, but by using the 2 mixes we got 2 cakes! And one was a pleasant surprise 🙂 I won the Gluten Free products that they sell, on-line and a few of their products appear in supermarkets. Contact them, to find out more http://www.DeliciousAlchemy.com http://shop.deliciousalchemy.com

Gluten free Caramel Oat Cake

Prices for the Vanilla Sponge mix  c£2.99, the Oaty Biscuit mix c£1.99 and a the lovely Brownie mix c2.99 – and no, I don’t work for them, but the mixes do come in very handy and are very easy to make.

For this little mash-up of double alchemy I used the Oaty Mix and the Vanilla Sponge Mix – both Gluten Free. I have also used the gluten free brownie mix and mixed it with some freeze-dried strawberries

The packet instructions for the Sponge Mix also say dairy free – BUT – I mixed in some milk instead of water #avant-garde ! 😉

Pre heat the oven to 180c/Gas 4 and line a 7″ round cake tin (or 6 cupcakes) and line a small brownie tray – roughly 27cm x 20cm.

First, mix the Gluten Free Oaty Mix as per the packet instructions – tip the contents of the Oaty mix into a bowl and stir in 75g of melted butter (or dairy free equivalent) and 30ml of water (cold), until combined. Its smells like flapjack and is divine. Leave to one side as you make the Gluten Free Vanilla Sponge Mix.

 

Gluten free Caramel Oat Cake

Then tip the contents of the vanilla sponge mix into a mixing bowl and mix as per the instructions. I used my lovely Kitchen Aid – with whisk attachment! Add in 3 large eggs, 180g of very soft butter (or dairy free equivalent) – bring to room temperature, or pop in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time and 20ml of milk (or water). Whisk quickly for a few seconds, scrape the bowl and whisk again for a few short seconds more. The object being, don’t over whisk.

Take the sponge mix and divide into two. Put one half into the lined, round cake tin and bake – again as per the instructions – approx. 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. You could of course use this mix to make roughly 6 cupcakes. The choice is yours :). Once cooled, I then cut this through the middle and filled with just homemade raspberry jam. Simples. A very thin…Gluten Free Victoria Sponge.

Secondly take the remaining gluten free sponge mix and ‘mix’ with the Oaty mix. But don’t try to hard to mix, merely bring the two mixes together. Put into the lined tray, push out gently into the sides of the tray and bake – same temperature and for approx. 20 minutes. Allow to cool in the tray – and make the Caramel Sauce!!

Boil up in a pan – 150ml Double Cream, 75g Butter, 75g Dark Brown Sugar – this should take about 3 – 4 minutes – melting the butter and the sugar. Pour over the freshly baked Oaty slice and leave to cool. That is, if you wish to eat this cold – OR – you could eat this straight away and serve with custard, cream or crème fraiche!

And if you are feeling extra generous, I have been shortlisted in a national Free From competition. Run by http://www.foodsyoucan.com there are various categories to vote for and in, all supplying and doing the good stuff in the Free From world. I have been shortlisted in the category for ‘Best Free From Blogger’ 2014. Feel free to follow the link and vote. All votes have the chance to win a prize 😋😋😋😊 Much appreciated. Voting closes around October 25th 2015.

 

 

A Touch of Nostalgia – Gluten Free Macaroon Tart

I wrote earlier about inspiration and how it comes in various ways. So when I was leafing through an old folder and notebook, I came across several years worth of old recipes and ideas. Ones that needed updating and ‘glutenfree-ing’.

These recipes and ideas have various origins and stretch almost to the beginning of my career. At a time when allergies and intolerances were  certainly unheard of to me. And bless you, should you be a vegetarian!

These recipes are both sweet and savoury and many are from the menus I cooked from. Recipes and ideas passed down from chef to chef to ensure some form of standardised dish presentation. All this, way before establishments started to formalise their own actual recipes and produce physical trade cook books.

There are many tales to tell and as I went through the random pages of my ‘Little Blue Book’, and sheets of recipes and menus, many fond memories came flooding back. But those I shall save for another day. Perhaps…..

But there was one set of recipes that bears some relevance to ‘today’.

I’m not entirely sure how the recipes were acquired or even how I managed to charm them out of such closely guarded secrecy, from the hands of 2 fellow students. But of the 2 sheets of paper I had, only one remains. Of the ‘lost’ recipes, I only remembered 2 of them,  and I have managed to track down one of them. The other will remain undetected. The recipes were for school dinner puds. Good old-fashioned comfort food. Of days gone by; of walking to school 3 miles away (it felt more), of long summers and white Christmases.  The two students (as was I) were dinner ladies, gaining valuable knowledge and qualifications at a College in Suffolk.

Now, I must have enjoyed school and its dinners, because I can’t ever remember complaining and the memories I do have are fond and warm. And I most certainly remember the puddings!

And now I have the (some at least) recipes! 😀

Sadly I can’t locate ‘Chocolate Crunch’, but ‘Toffee Cream Tart’ and ‘Lemon Love Cake’ are mine! As well as ‘Macaroon Tart’ and this I share with you now. Originally baked as a whooping traybake (served with warm custard) I have adapted this to gluten free of course and amended further to make it mine. But the origins remain.

And as Noah starts school this year, my hope for him, will that he too can enjoy his school dinners (especially as they are free!!). That he too can have fond memories in the years to come. That having Coeliac Disease does not mean he misses out.

image

Macaroon Tart

The recipe requires a 7cm pastry cutter and makes approx 24 tartlets.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180c

The Pastry – Rub 200g Dove Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour with 100g butter to form fine breadcrumbs, then mix in 1 egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon of Xanthum Gum and bring to form a dough with a few drops of cold water. Mould into a dough, roll into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

The Topping – Beat 120g soft butter with 100g soft brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then mix in 150g Gluten Free Rolled Oats (I used  Nairns) 60g of Ground Almonds, 2 teaspoons of Almond Essence, and 2 tablespoons of Jam (I used a new jam from ‘Mrs Darlington’s’ – Peach Melba). I guess this now resembles something akin to flapjacks.

Remove the pastry from the fridge. You will need to give this a little knead to make the pastry more pliable and then roll out to the desired thickness. Using your pastry cutter, cut out the pastry discs and place into the pastry baking tray. Place 1/2 a teaspoon more of jam, into the bottom of each pastry round. Roll the ‘macaroon’ mix into balls, no bigger than a walnut, flatten a little and then place on top of the jam, and into the pastry shape. No need to press down as the cooking will do this for you.

Bake then on the middle shelf, for approx 18 – 20 minutes until cooked and the tart has a golden look. You’ll probably have to bake one tray at a time. Once cooked, leave to cool completely before removing from the tray, as the gluten free pastry is a little fragile at this stage.

These can be enjoyed cold, or if you are making one large tart, serve warm with custard…..enjoy 😀

image

 

I am also sharing this post with others for ‘Credit Crunch Munch’ May 2015. As I was able to use up some ingredients I  had left in the cupboard, namely the rolled oats. Always a tricky one!

You can find all manner of other dishes on a budget from

http://www.fussfreeflavours.com/credit-crunch-munch http://www.bakingqueen74.co.uk and http://www.fabfood4all.co.uk/credit-crunch-munch

 

 

 

Coeliac Awareness Week – May 2016 – Noah’s Tale

Some things are hard to put into words.

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

I have alluded on an earlier post, but as its Coeliac Awareness Week, I wanted to share in more detail. There are others out there, who are having to cope with symptoms they are not able to pin point, so here is our story, which will be a permanent fixture on the blog.

It all began in the summer of 2012. Noah is 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 were at our wits end and 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! And more than anything it was the screams of what we could tell was pain and discomfort. And 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 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 wasn’t being very helpful. And so still screaming in pain and discomfort, we took Noah for his appointment. He asked us lots of questions and made some rather insightful insights. And the best thing Noah could have done at that point? He threw up. All over the Osteo and the floor. And again after, Noah was the better child again, all smiles and cheer. But 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 were 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 height and weight were well that for his age. But we were at least able to rule our Diabetes.

And 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 for now we made 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 and 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, but 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

Noah Coeliac Awareness Week 2016

And now, Noah is Noah. He started school September 2015 and we will turn to a new chapter in his gluten free life as he starts to learn more about what he can and can’t eat. He will be in the hands of others. We have had words with the school caterer and they are very accommodating. We don’t want all the hard work to come undone. Noah has had 3 years of great blood tests and we continue to be under the specialist care of North Staffs, even if that is further away than our nearby hospital. He will continue to have his annual check up. Noah knows that he has ‘Coeliac Disease’, he knows that he needs to eat foods that are ‘Gluten Free’.

And here this part of the story ends. But it does not stop. As he grows he will find out for himself, more and more of what his body can and can’t take. And as he grows the choices will be wider, even in the last 3 years we have seen the food industry adapt. Who knows where this will lead in the coming years.

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