Half Term Fun

At last!

You do have to feel for the little ones, its been a long start to the school year with the bulk of school year seemingly over and with little in the way of a break, we have decided to have a pretty slow and uneventful week at home. The first half of the school year has been pretty full on and you can see it in them – they (at least our 2 our) are very exhausted. The second half of the school year for us, now has 2 lots of 2 weeks off before the summer holidays. It just seems like it’s all down hill from here 🙂  A bit like Wednesday is Hump Day, so February/March is Hump Month! That’s a new phrase….

This month also sees Noah’s annual Coeliac check up and this year the hospital seem to have got their act together (not that it was ever disorganised – North Staffs have been fantastic) in that now we can get Noah’s blood tested, a week before the actual appointment. So come appointment day we can actually discuss his progress and concerns. Taking the blood for the test has never been Noah’s favourite time of year, by association a trip to the hospital has nearly always meant some form of pain. You can’t blame him really, but this year he was particularly brave and the visit passed almost without a tear. The promise of some Pokémon Trading Cards might have helped…. So more on the results later. For now we’ll enjoy the rest of the half term with a spot of laziness.

One thing that has though happened is that I have now found a new cake treat that Noah enjoys. Gluten Free Cherry and Marzipan Shortbread.

gluten-free-cherry-and-marzipan-shortbread

Line a baking tray roughly 20x10x3cm with greaseproof and preheat the oven to Gas 2/140c

  • 200g diced butter
  • 200g rice flour
  • 100g caster sugar (plus a little extra for dusting – 2 tablespoons)
  • 100g cornflour
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 150g marzipan
  • 1 small jar (225g) of Opie’s Cocktail Cherries – drained and dried (with paper/kitchen towel)

Put the butter, sugar and flours into a food processor and blitz for about a minute until you have fine breadcrumbs. Remove from the food processor bowl and bring the mixture together to form a dough ball – divide this into 2.

Roll out one half of the dough to the size of your tin and then sprinkle the surface with the cherries and the marzipan – broken up into small pieces.

making-gluten-free-cherry-and-marzipan-shortbreadRoll out your second piece of shortbread dough and place over the top and lightly press down, taking care not to break the surface but to get a nice seal at the edges. No need to brush them with anything though.

Place into the middle of the oven and bake slowly for about 35 – 40 mins until a light brown colour has been achieved.

Remove from the oven – sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of extra caster sugar – and leave to completely cool in the tin before removing and cutting into 15 squares – or larger depending on your appetite.

Ad – If you fancy buying some of these Opies Cocktail Cherries you can click this link here to Amazon –

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opies-glace-cherries

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Gluten Free Lemon Curd Eton Mess Shortbread

I’m staring at a blank screen.  Words and lots of them, but what order to put them! This little bake should come as a refreshing break in between the Halloween chocolate overload and the rich indulgence that will be Christmas. Which, by the way, I am planning a few lovely bakes over the coming weeks, so if you have anything you would like to see, let me know.

The light shortbread biscuit base, the sharp lemon curd and the smooth mix of meringue and white chocolate…once bitten – it won’t last long. A lovely afternoon treat.

gluten-free-lemon-eton-mess-shortbread

Preheat the oven to Gas 2/150c and line a brownie tray (20x10x3cm) with greaseproof.

60g Soft butter

120g Caster sugar

100g Rice flour

60g Cornflour

30g Ground almonds

1/4 teaspoon of xanthum gum

200g Lemon Curd (I used Mrs Darlington’s)

50g Ready made meringue (I used some from Waitrose) – lightly crushed

200g Melted white chocolate

Mix the rice flour, Cornflour, ground almonds and xanthum gum and set to one side.

Then beat the soft butter and the sugar together until soft and fluffy for a couple of minutes then add the dry mix in. Using a spoon or your hands, mix well until fully combined and it forms a lovely smooth dough.

Now at first it may seem to be not enough, but just break off small amounts of the dough and spread the dough across the base of the lined tray. You could of course roll it out, but this just never occurred to me – until now! Smooth out the dough into the corners until it’s all level.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes. Until it has a light brown surface.

Leave to cool in the tray and then carefully lift out. Use the greaseproof to help you. Spread the lemon curd over the surface and scatter the crushed meringue.

Then using a spoon ‘splash’ or flick or even pour over the melted white chocolate so it covers the curd and meringue.

Leave to cool at room temperature before cutting into squares – as large or as small as you like – but you can about 12 pieces out of the bake. Don’t pop in the fridge or the chocolate will melt too hard and the shortbread will break up when you come to cut it.

This would also make a good base for many other bakes – caramel shortbread being one of them – a popular favourite with Noah 🙂

 

 

Gluten Free Millionaires Shortbread-Easter Mash Up

Gluten Free Easter Millionaires Shortbread

An updated recipe to the one I wrote last year. And to be honest, I know its not yet Easter, but the Easter Eggs are in the supermarkets and I couldn’t keep this to myself until then, so here it is. It when down very well with colleagues and Noah alike. I had to share it sooner rather than later. Just when everyone is looking to Mothers Day! Oh…I’d better check what Noah’s Mum would like me to bake for that……

Gluten free Millionaires Shortbread Easter-Mash-Up

I used an 8″X11″ cake tin, lined with greaseproof

Pre heat the oven to Gas 2 – middle shelf for baking

Cream together 60g Caster Sugar and 120g soft butter. Then mix in 120g of Dove Farm Rice Flour, 75g Cornflour, plus 1/4 teaspoon of Xanthum Gum. Mix together to bring together to form a  dough.

Press this into the cake tin. Ensuring you get into the corners and level this off. I used the back of a spoon.

Bake this for approx. 25-30 mins. it should have a light brown tinge. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, before putting the next bit on.

For the caramel – dissolve 80g of dark brown sugar with 80g of butter, in a heavy based saucepan. This takes a couple of minutes, but you must ensure all the sugar is dissolved. Stir continuously so that the mix doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. Then pour in one tin (397g) of Carnation Condensed milk and over a medium heat stir this until it begins to bubble and thicken. About 4 mins. Pour this over the cooled shortbread and again, leave to cool.

For the topping – melt in a bowl, set in a saucepan over simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) 180g Belgian Milk Chocolate (I use Callebaut) pour then, over the cooled and now set caramel.

Then scatter over 4 Cadbury Crème Eggs cut in half, Cadburys Mini Eggs and some large Chocolate Buttons oh, and 2 small Cadburys Crunchies, just crushed in your hands.

Cool again – can be quicken if you leave the cake in the fridge. But if you leave to cool, covered, at room temperature it will be easier to cut. Once cooled you can cut into as many squares as you want and into any size.

Enjoy and let me know how you get on.

 

Gluten free Ecclefechan Shortbread Bites recipe #Glutenfree

Because everyone should be able to celebrate any festive feast or National Day. Here is a little twist to one special Scottish cake which could be eaten on Burns Night. After a couple of trials, I found it best to bake this in 2 stages. The first will be to make and partially bake the shortbread base and then remove from the oven, pour on the topping and finish the baking.

It will need to be left to completely cool, before cutting and eating as it will be a little squidgy.

Gluten free Ecclefechan Shortbread bites recipe

You will need a small rectangle baking tray roughly 27cm long, 20cm wide and 3cm deep – rather like a brownie tray  Then line this with greaseproof paper.

Preheat the oven to gas 3, 160c

First make the gluten free Shortbread

120g soft butter

60g caster sugar

120g Dove Farm Rice Flour

70g Cornflour

1/teaspoon Xanthum Gun

Cream the butter and the sugar until white and fluffy, this should take about 4 – 5 minutes. Sift together the dry ingredients and the mix slowly into the butter mix. it will eventually resemble breadcrumbs. At this point, pour into the lined tin and press firmly into the corners and flatten out.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and remove. Then turn the over up a fraction as you’ll need to bake the topping and it needs a good glaze to finish it off. o Gas 4, 170c

Next the classic topping.

130g melted butter

2 eggs

160g Light Brown Sugar

1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar

50g Sliced Almonds

100g Raisins

100g Currants

60g Glace Cherries – halves, if available or cut whole ones into thirds

Ensure there are no lumpy bits in the sugar, you could sieve this or just break up with the back of a spoon.

Whisk the eggs into the melted butter – which should be cooled off a little after melting so as not to cook the eggs! The melted butter should be warm enough to put your finger in. Then whisk in the sugar and the tablespoon of wine vinegar. Sounds weird, but it works. It serves as a balance with the sweetness of the rest of the recipe.

Pour this on to the half-baked shortbread and bake in the now increased heat, in the oven, for a further 25 – 30 minutes.

Allow to cool for a couple of hours prior to cutting and eating.

Should you be interested, I have used my mother’s family tartan as the background – Sutherland.