Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sticky toffee pudding cake

I am a recent convert to sticky toffee pudding and now I cannot get enough of it comforting sticky goodness. It was cold and dark outside and the news was somewhat depressing and I decided a comforting cake was needed. So I concocted a plan to put all the comforting loveliness of sticky toffee pudding in a cake.

This cake was a bit of an experiment but it did all it was supposed too and more. It was absolutely delicious warm from the oven with a little yoghurt and drizzle of maple syrup. It also kept very well and was perfect with a morning cuppa.

I reckon with buttercream of your choice and a bit of decoration this could be an excellent celebration cake as an alternative to chocolate.

I love this cake so much that is is a strong contender to be a layer in my wedding cake... if that does not convince you to try it I do not know what will!

Sticky toffee pudding cake

150g pecan
200g stoned dates
200g dairy free or lactose free spread (I used lactofree this time)
140g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 medium eggs
140g self raising GF flour

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and line the base of a 20cm springform cake tin.

Tip 100g of the pecans into a processor and whizz until fine then continue to process until it becomes a paste, like peanut butter. Add the dates and blend until a thick smooth paste forms. If your dates are a bit dry put them into a small pan with enough water to cover, boil for 5 mins until very soft. Drain, discarding the liquid, then whizz in the processor with the ground pecans until smooth. 

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and creamy, then tip in the dates and pecans paste, eggs and a pinch of salt and beat briefly until smooth. Fold in the flour with a metal spoon, then spoon into the tin and level the top. 

Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the top (don’t press them in), then bake for 1 hour mins or until risen and golden and a skewer comes out clean. You may have to cover the top of the cake with foil to stop the top of the cake and pecans catching and getting too dark.

Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool  completely.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Baked chicken liver mousse (gluten and lactose or dairy free)

A savoury recipe today but it is baked so fits right in with a baking blog! It is so tasty and is packed full or things that are good for you, especially the liver, try not to be squeamish, once cooked it does not look like liver and did I mention it is exceedingly tasty and nutritious? If you need any more convincing chicken livers, even organic, are very very cheap!

Warm this is very very light and mousse like. When I ate this the next day it was completely cold and much firmer, like a very smooth pate. I think the best way to enjoy this is with oatcakes, or anything else with crunch.

I am going to enter this to this months alpha bakes as the letter is L!

Baked chicken liver mousse

serves 6

100g lactose or dairy free spread
1/2 apple, finely chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
100g liver
2 medium eggs
pinch of salt
tablespoon of brandy

Preheat the oven to 150C/130FAN/GAS MARK 2 and grease and line a small loaf tin (14cm by 7cm) Alternatively use small ramekins, no need to grease and line these.

Gently melt the spread before adding in the chopped apple and onion, gently cook for 5 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Put all the ingredients including the cooled spread, apple and onion mix into a food processor and blend until very smooth. 

Pour into your prepared loaf tin or ramekins, place these into a deep roasting dish and pour boiling water  into the roasting dish until it reaches halfway up the loaf tin or ramekins. 

Transfer the roasting tray to the oven (careful!) and cook for 25 minutes in the ramekins or 35 minutes in the loaf tin. It will be set around the edges with just a very very slight wobble in the centre.

Leave to cool for a least half an hour before eating, this is very important in the case of the loaf tin if you want any chance of getting it out neatly. 

Cover any leftovers and keep in the fridge, it is amazing cold the following day. 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Carrot, almond, sunflower and flaxseed crackers

Happy new year! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. I really really needed the Christmas break, hence the lack of Christmas themed recipes, though I do have a delicious mincemeat soufflé recipe to share... its too good not to post and I suppose I am not the only one with leftover mincemeat!

This cracker recipe is not a knee jerk reaction to the December excess, I do not believe in detox or deprivation especially in a dark, cold month such as January. This cracker is no rice cake, packed with nuts and seeds it is a delicious and filling snack/lunch to have with hummus, soup etc.

This recipe is adapted from the carrot and flaxseed recipe in the recipe book 'The are of eating well' by Hemsley and Hemsley

Carrot, almond, sunflower and flaxseed crackers

60g blanched almonds
40g sunflower seeds
60g finely grated carrot
80g flaxseeds (linseeds)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 200C/180F/GAS MARK 6. Process the almonds and sunflower seeds in a food processor until they resemble a coarse flour.

mix all the ingredients together with your hands to form a dough. Roll out the dough in-between two sheets of baking parchment until very thin ~3mm thick. score the dough into squares, I had some edge pieces which are randomly shaped as my final rolled dough was not a square! Removing the top sheet of baking parchment transfer the dough, still on the bottom piece of parchment onto a baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. the edge ones will cook a little quicker so cut these off and transfer to a wire rack to cool and return the remaining dough to the oven for a couple more minutes. 

The cracker will be a little soft initially but will firm up as it cools.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Cheese and sage cornbread muffins (gluten free, lactose free)

A quick recipe today for quick simple tasty savoury muffins. I am not the biggest fan of muffins, I tend to prefer savoury versions though and I love cornbread so gave these a go. I am glad I did too as they a lovely, I had them alongside salad and soups, often refreshing them in the oven and eating them warm perfect. These will keep for a few days in an airtight container, they also freeze well. Sorry for lack of photos, they got eaten!

Cheese and sage cornbread muffins

makes 10 smallish muffins

50g DF spread (I used pure)
150g GF plain flour (I used dove farm)
50g cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xantham gum
tsp dried sage
100g LF mature cheddar (I use arla lactofree)
250ml LF milk or soya milk
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180C/160FAN/GAS 4 and line a cupcake/muffin tin with muffin liners.

Into a large bowl add the flour, cornmeal, salt, cayenne, baking powder, xantham gum and sage and mix to combine.

Gently melt the DF spread over a low heat , then mix in the milk and the eggs.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Finally mix in the cheese. 

Divide the muffin mixture evenly between the muffin cases and sprinkle the tops with a little extra grated cheese or some seeds.

Bake in the oven for ~2 minutes until golden and springy. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.   

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Mince pies (gluten and lactose free)

These are my gluten and lactose free mice pies. The pastry is lovely and short and the hazelnuts add a subtle flavour. You can use the mincemeat recipe in my previous post or buy a jar, just check that it meets any dietary requirements it may have. They keep really well in a tin, I liked to warm them for a couple of minutes beofre I tucked in, delicious!

Mince pies (gluten free, lactose free)

makes ~12

75g lactose free spread 
140g plain gluten free flour
1/4 tsp xantham gum
50g ground hazelnuts
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
Jar of mincemear (~400g)

Rub the spread into the flour until it ressembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the xantham gum, hazelnuts and sugar. Using a knife mix in 4 tbsps of cold water until the dough begins to come together. Knead briefly and shape into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

Preheat the oven to 190C/170 FAN/GAS 5 and grease a twelve hole cupcake tin with butter and line with a strip of parchment paper, this will make the pies simple to remove. 

Gently dust a work surface and rolling pin with gluten free flour and roll the pastry until it is 5mm thick. Cut out circles larger in diameter than the base of each hole and use them to gently line each hole. Fill each pie with mincemeat then using the remaining pastry cut out stars to top the mince pies.

Bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven, when golden remove and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.