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.  

Monday, 8 December 2014

Gluten free mincemeat

I can tell its nearly Christmas, and it is not just the cold weather and beautiful fairy lights everywhere. No I mean that busy feeling as you try to get your to do list done before the holidays! I have many blog posts to write and barely have time to sit down for 20 minutes at a time.

Today I share my gluten free mincemeat with you, hopefully tomorrow I will share gluten and lactose fee mince pies with you, I know, I know, promises promises.

I have a mincemeat recipe already on the blog. It is not however gluten free, and I have tweaked the recipe to make it a tiny little less sweet so that the spices shine through, it is now also nut free. Feel free to have a look at both and chose the one that best suits your requirements. If you do not wish to add the brandy just add an extra 50ml of orange juice.

I found gluten free suet in a health food shop but my mum found some in Morrisons so its worth having a look in your local supermarket.


1 bramley apple
150g raisins
150g sultanas
80g stoned dates, chopped
100g  GF vegetarian suet
200g brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
fresh grating of nutmeg
Zest and juice of a small lemon
Zest and juice of half an orange
50ml brandy (or extra orange juice)

Put the raisins, sultanas, dates, suet, sugar and spices into a bowl and mix. Peel and grate the apple then add this to the bowl along with the citrus juice, zest and brandy, Give the whole thing a good mix.

Leave overnight, giving a good stir every now and then. By morning it will be slightly darker and lovely and sticky.

 Pack into sterile jars and leave to mature for as long as possible, saying that if you use it almost immediately it will still be delicious. 


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Cherry and almond loaf (gluten free, dairy free)

This is a good loaf cake for using up any leftover glacé cherries you may have lurking after your Christmas cake/pudding/mincemeat baking. Of course it you have no leftover cherries go by some because this is an amazing cake!

You may notice that the weights are in ounces, except the ground almonds which are in grams, this is because I stole the recipe from my mum.

I took this cake into work to celebrate the fact I passed my viva... 4 years of work but I am now a Dr. Finally I can have a break from reading about science and get baking and blogging.

As always if you do not have an issue with butter or gluten feel free to substitute the DF and GF components with their regular counterparts.

Cherry and almond loaf

6oz dairy free spread (I use pure)
6oz golden caster sugar
3 eggs
tsp almond extract
6oz GF plain flour (I use dove farm)
1/2 tsp xantham gum
4tsp GF baking powder
100g glacé cherries, chopped into 1/2 or 1/4 depending on their size
75g ground almonds

First preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180C and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Beat the DF spread and sugar until creamy then beat in the eggs one at a time,  followed by the almond extract. Beat in the flour, xantham gum and baking powder until it is just combined. Rinse the cherries and dry on kitchen paper, this prevents them from sinking to the bottom of your cake. Toss the cherries in the ground almonds, this also helps them stop sinking. then fold the cherries and almond into your cake mix until the cherries are evenly distributed.

Transfer the cake mix to your prepared tin and smooth with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes (mine took just over 40) until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

I took a little mix out of the big loaf tin to make a baby cake for the two of us to eat as a tester before I took the big one to work! Sorry for the dark photo, it was evening. I really need to work on my camera skills, if anyone has any tips do let me know!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Ginger, lemon and honey biscuits (gluten free, dairy free)

I promised you a post for apple butter victoria sponge, and was all set to do so until I woke up with a cold. I can't complain too much, it is the 2nd November and my first cold this year so I have done pretty well. My head is fuzzy and I know I will miss something out of the relatively simple but multi stage apple butter blog post. Soon I promise you, soon. 

Instead I offer you a simple recipe for ginger, honey and lemon biscuits. I like to think of these as the perfect healing biscuits if you have a cold. After all honey, lemon and ginger all feature heavily in commerical cold remidies.  And if you don't have a cold? They are still delicious little biscuits to nibble whenever you wish. 

The recipe is based on one for ginger and lemon biscuits by Signe Johansen in Scandilicous baking. As they contain honey I am going to enter them into this months alpha bakes.

Ginger lemon and honey biscuits

50g stem ginger
1 medium egg
20g golden syrup
20g honey
10g stem ginger syrup (from the jar the stem ginger comes in)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
125g non dairy spread (I used pure soya)
125g golden caster sugar
200g GF plain four
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Finely chop the stem ginger, add to a jug and mix in the egg, golden syrup, honey, stem ginger syrup and the zest and juice the lemon. 

In a separate bowl cream the DF spread and sugar together until creamy. Add in half the wet ingredients, 1/2 the flour and the xantham gum, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda then mix to combine. Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix, finally add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined. Place clingfilm over the bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Place teaspoons full of the dough onto the sheet, making sure to leave 4-5cm between them. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden round the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

I really like these biscuits, they are light, not heavy and crunchy like regular ginger biscuits (which I also love) and the lemon adds a freshness to the ginger. They will keep in an airtight tin for at least a week. If they start to go soft blast them in the oven for a couple of minutes to crisp them up.  


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Final bake off and a catch up

Hi, I know my blog is just a hobby and nothing bad is going to happen should I miss a few posts but I still feel really bad having abandoned my little blog for long.

To cut a long story short I have been ill and was in hospital and so I did not particularly want to eat let alone bake.

When I did bake I was baking items that I have made previously and are already on the blog! I did my final bake along with bake off. I recreated their final technical challenge, making mini victoria sponges, mini scones, and mini brownies. You may remember that the contestants made lemon tarts not brownies but I was pressed for time and not about to make a gluten and dairy free pastry topped with a dairy free custard! They all went down very well, in particular I thought the gluten free scones were delicious.

I also entered the science bake off at work (I work in a lab), there was a prize for best decorated science cake and a prize for the yummiest cake. I made cupcakes, chocolate and salted caramel and white chocolate and raspberry. They were gluten free, the chocolate and salted caramel were lactose free and the others were low lactose with 2g of white chocolate per cupcake. My allergy friendly cupcakes won yummiest cake! I was absolutely delighted.

My first bake post hospital was a simple comforting banana bread. Sometimes a simple old classic is what everyone needs.

I am ready to start baking again, I have a fantastic apple butter victoria sponge to share with you tomorrow. If you are wondering what a fruit butter is come back tomorrow and all will be revealed.

Saturday, 11 October 2014


What will we do on Wednesday nights now that bake off is over? The final was thrilling and I am so pleased that my favourite won, my favourite never wins... I jinx them from the start simply by liking them!

The wee before the final was patisserie week and the bakers had to create two types of baklava, two types of entremets and a schichttorte. The first two I had heard of, the last I not not. Looking it up I was instantly intrigued, a grilled cake? Would it taste different to a baked cake? There was only one way to find out.

I used the recipe from Paul Hollywood found here. I made tweaks to make it gluten and dairy free, and also had to turn my grill down and cook for 30 seconds less than stated. 

Admittedly it does have the wow factor when you cut into it, all those layers. When I first tried a slice I did not know what to expect and so was not overwhelmed with the texture of the cake, I think I prefer my cakes baked not grilled. Having said that over the next few days the cake grew on me and I have decided I do quite like it after all. Whether I like it enough to spend two hours making one again remains to be seen. Oh and the chocolate glaze is immense. 

In final week I absolutely loved how the bakers went back to basics for the technical challenge. I firmly believe a good knowledge of the basics is what makes a consistently good baker and Nancy helped prove me right by nailing it. 

For my final bake along with bake off bake I am going to make scones, mini victoria sandwiches and some form of mini patisserie and aim to make them all perfect. I will do this next weekend when my parents come see my new flat for the fist time,after walking the hills of Edinburgh I am sure everyone will be ready for a cup of tea and a cake or two!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Chocolate and pecan traybake (gluten and dairy free)

This is a simple to make and deliciously chocolatey traybake, that's probably thanks to the 200g of dark chocolate in here! We enjoyed this so much that we finished it within days of it being made, saying that it does keep well. If you can eat dairy and gluten feel free to use butter and regular plain wheat flour.

 Definitely one to add to the collection, I can see this being made again with different flavouring and nuts for variety,

Chocolate and pecan traybake

200g dark chocolate
100g DF spread (I used pure)
85g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, separated, the whites into a greasefree bowl
85g ground almonds
75g GF plain flour (I used Dove farm)
1/8 tsp xantham gum
Pecans for decoration, anything from 50-100g

Preheat the oven to 160C/180C FAN/gas 4 and line a 25cm square cake tin or brownie/traybake tin with baking parchment. 

Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water and heat gently, stirring every now and then until the chocolate and butter has melted. When cool, but still melted, stir in half the sugar and the egg yolks.

Whisk the whites to firm peaks, add the remaining sugar, then whisk again until glossy. Stir a spoonful of the egg whites into the chocolate mix along with the ground almonds, flour and xantham gum then fold through the rest. Transfer to the tin and top with lightly broken pecans. 

Bake for 25 minutes, cool in the tin for 10 mins, then lift onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Gluten free nutella bread

Thus is me catching up with my bake off posts. This is from last week where the contestants had to make an enriched loaf. I tweaked this challenge slightly as their loafs involved fruit and I did not want fruit, I wanted chocolate.

The recipe for the braided nutella bread comes from the delightful Gluten-Free on a Shoestring blog and the recipe can be found here.

I did have to make my own nutella as shop bought contains dairy and I will share this recipe below.

The finished load does look beautiful and is the nicest gluten free bread that I have made so far. It was perfect warm from the oven with a little extra nutella and a pot of tea for a special weekend breakfast.

Homemade nutella (Dairy and Gluten free)

100g hazelnuts (skinned)
2 tbsp good cocoa powder (I used green and blacks)
4-5 tbsp of hazelnut milk (Or use almond or soy milk if you cannot get hold of hazelnut)
1 1/2 tbs brown sugar or maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla paste

Blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor until they from a smooth-ish paste. Add all the other ingredients and continue to blitz until combined and as smooth as possible. Transfer to a sterile jar and keep in the fridge, eat within a couple of weeks. 

This nutella is a more grown up version, it is a little more intense, darker and not as sweet. I really like this however should you wish to make it sweeter simply add more sugar/maple syrup until it as sweet as you desire. This nutella is quite thick, add a splash more milk if you desire.

As well as the bread this nutella is great on toast topped with a sliced banana! 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Gluten and Dairy Free Choux pastry.

Watching bake off this week I realised that I had completely forgotten to post my creation from pastry week, oops. To be honest I was dreading pastry week as attempting to make gluten and dairy free pastry is a tricky business. I decided that choux was my way forward and attempted some of my own eclairs. I have had previous successes making regular choux so I was hopefully optimistic that I could make this work.

And it turns out you can make gluten and dairy free choux. It is not quite as smooth and glossy as regular choux and whereas I would normally use a wooden spoon I did have to use a hand held electric whisk to get the choux dough as smooth as possible.
See, not totally smooth and glossy
Once baked however my mini eclairs looked and tasted like the regular deal. I tarted up my eclair by making them banoffee eclairs. I filled them with sliced banana, vanilla whipped non dairy cream and topped with non-dairy toffee sauce. They were declared delicious by all. Below is the recipe to make gluten and dairy free choux, feel free to jazz up you eclair with any topping or filling that you desire.

Choux pastry (gluten and dairy free) 

60g gluten free flour (I used dove farm)
2 tsp caster sugar (optional)
150ml cold water
50g dairy free spread (I used pure, sunflower)
2 large eggs

Weigh the flour then fold a sheet of baking paper to make a crease and then open it up again. Sift the flour on to the paper and add the caster sugar if you are making sweet choux.

Next put the cold water in a saucepan together with the butter, then place the saucepan over a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon. As soon as the butter has melted and the mixture comes up to the boil, turn off the heat immediately, as too much boiling will evaporate some of the water.

Next tip the flour in, all in one go, with one hand, while you beat the mixture vigorously with the other (using the electric whisk).

Beat until you have a smooth ball of paste that has left the sides of the saucepan clean, this will probably take less than a minute

Next beat 2 large eggs then beat them into the mixture, a little at a time, mixing each addition in thoroughly before adding the next. Beat until you have a smooth(ish) glossy(ish) paste. At this stage, lightly grease a baking sheet and place a ovenproof dish with a little water in the base of the oven to create a steamy atmosphere.

To make the éclairs place the mixture in to a piping bag fitted with a wide round tip and pipe mixture onto the baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between them. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. After that, increase the heat to gas mark 7 220C/200CFAN and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the buns are crisp, light and a rich golden colour.

Split the éclairs and return to the oven for a couple of minutes to dry out the insides.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool and fill just before eating to enjoy them at their best. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Blueberry crumble cake

Last week it truly felt like autumn was here, it was colder, dark when I got up, dingy and grey. The only way to combat this was a comforting cake made with cinnamon and fruit, I did not quite veer into the autumn fruit territory (apples, blackberries, pears) but used some Scottish blueberries. a last hopeful cling on to summer. It worked we got a mild reprise to summer this weekend with plenty of sunshine and blue skies!

The cake is from this months good food magazine, I adapted it a little to make it gluten and dairy free and also enough to fit into a brownie tin.

The crumble topping is fantastically crisp and contrasts perfectly with the soft cake and fruit. This cake is best eaten as soon as possible as it contains fresh fruit. Also the sooner it is eaten the crisper the topping will be.

Oh and sorry for the dark photos... that is partly down to me wanting to eat it and partly down to the rubbish autumn weather I mention previously!

Blueberry crumble cake (adapted from bbc good food magazine)

150g dairy free spread (I use pure, sunflower)
225g golden caster sugar
300g GF plain flour (I use Dove farm blend)
1 tsp xantham gum
1 1/2 tsp GF baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 medium eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla paste/extract
180g natural soya yoghurt
1 1/2 tbsp non dairy milk (I used almond milk)

1 tbsp and 1 tsp of ccinnamon
2 tbsp each of golden caster sugar and brown sugar (light or dark). mixed
200g blueberries
6 tbsps GF plain flour
3 tbsps dairy free spread, cut small

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN. GAS MARK 4 and grease and line a brownie tin (or traybake tin) with baking paper.

Beat the DF spread and sugar with an electric whisk until fluffy. Add the flour, xantham gum, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to the bowl followed by the eggs and vanilla, beat until smooth. Add the yoghurt and DF milk and briefly beat until combined.

Spoon just under half of the mix into the prepared tin. Mix 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of the sugar mix and scatter half of this over the cake followed by half of the berries. Layer over the remaining cake mix, take care when smoothing it out the berries will want to come with you. Sprinkle over the remaining sugar/cinnamon mix followed by the remaining berries.

To make the crumb topping place the remaining sugar mix, flour and DF spread into a bowl and rub together until the mixture resembles chunky breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the cake, squeeze some of the crumble together to make bigger chunks as you do. 

Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, until it is risen all the way till the centre. looks golden and the topping is crisp.

 Cool the cake in the tin for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack, using the baking paper to help you lift the cake, to cool completely.

Friday, 12 September 2014


So continuing along with the bake off you may have noticed I do not have a post for tarts and pies week. Well I did attempt to make a pie, I was terrified, a gluten and dairy free pastry was not an experiment I was looking forward to. The pastry I made was lovely and delicious, but it was meant to be puff pastry, something I never had problems with in the past,  and it turned out like shortcrust. I will reiterate it was lovely but I am not posting the recipe I used as it did not turn out as it should. I get to do pastry again soon though as next week is pastry week on the bake off! I show a picture of my pie to prove that I tried.

This week was the week of European cakes. The contestants had to make a European cake that was raised with yeast, a Swedish princess cake or a Hungarian dobes torte. I have never made a princess cake but I have eaten cakes consisting of sponge, jam, cream and creme pat and so I decided to go with the more interesting cake raised with yeast as I have never made/eaten one before.

I decided, like some of the contestants, to make a Kugelhopf. This is traditionally a cake raised with yeast, filled with fruit and cooked in a bundt tin. Like many of the contestants I changed my flavours, I went for cardamom, orange and almond. I also had the added challenge of making it gluten and dairy free.

I have also just remembered that this months letter for alpha bakes is K and so I will enter my Kugelhopf!

This is an experiment that worked and I am so so pleased with it, it smelt good baking, looked fantastic and also tasted great. It is very interesting, it is definitely a cross between bread and cake and those with palettes used to very sweet cakes will probably take a while to adjust. It is lovely as a plainer cake and dare I say it could even be eaten as breakfast (which I did). It does not keep so long so I have sliced it and individually wrapped slices and frozen them, I will refresh in the oven when I fancy a snack or breakfast.

Orange, cardamom and almond Kugelhopf 

380g GF flour (I used dove farm plain flour blend)
60g ground almonds
2 tsps xantham gum
Seeds of 15 cardamom pods, crushed in a pestle and mortar
120ml warm water
4 1/2 tsp active dried yeast (not instant yeast)
1/2 tsp sugar
120g DF spread (I used pure sunflower)
75g golden caster sugar
2 tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
Zest and juice of an orange
2 tbsp caster sugar
a little melted butter to grease
slivered almonds to decorate (optional

Place the warm water, yeast, and ¼ teaspoon sugar together in a small bowl. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Set aside for 10-15 minutes until the yeast is foamy

Place 220g of the gluten-free flour in a freestanding large bowl or the large bowl of a large stand mixer. Add the xanthan gum and cardamom and mix to combine

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved, do not let it boil.

In a medium bowl whisk  the eggs together with the almond extract and orange zest. Carefully add the milk mixture in a slow, steady stream to the eggs and whisk well. Be sure to add the milk slowly so it doesn't curdle the eggs. 

Turn the mixer on low, or using a hand held electric whisk add the milk and egg mixture in a slow steady stream to the flour mix. Raise the speed to medium and mix until smooth. Lower the speed and add the remaining flour and ground almonds. The dough should be fairly sticky and smooth, but not too stiff. Turn off mixer and let dough stand for a few minutes.

Grease a bundt pan with melted butter. if desired stick slivered almonds onto the sides of the greased pan.

 Carefully transfer the dough to the pan and smooth it evenly. Brush the top with the melted butter to prevent it drying out. 

Cover with cellophane or place in a bag and let rise for 45-60 minutes in a warm place. The dough won't have doubled, but it will have risen quite a bit.

While the dough is rising preheat the oven to GAS MARK 6 . Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden and baked through.

Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

To make a glaze put the remaining sugar and orange juice in a pan and heat gently until the sugar had dissolved, turn up the heat and reduce until the mixture is syrupy. Brush this over the cooled cake then enjoy.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Individual baked alaska

Dessert week on the great British bake off this week and the contestants had to tackle puddings with a sauce, either inside or hidden beneath, the technical challenge was a tiramasu and the showstopper a baked alaska. I will not spoil anything for those of you still to catch up but my word... I was on the edge of my seat!

Now I could have made a self saucing pudding, I have made chocolate fondants before so thought this seemed a little too easy. I was not going to make tiramasu as coffee is one of the few things I actually dislike. This left me with baked alaska.

First of all I was never going to make a whole baked alaska, there are only two of us and this pudding certainly does not keep. So I did my research and yes, individual baked alaskas are definitely a thing. Individual ones are either quickly put under a grill to brown or a blowtorch is used. An excuse to use my blowtorch? I was sold.

A baked alaska has a sponge base, topped with a scoop of ice cream and the whole thing is encased by browned meringue.

Those of you who read this blog will know that I cannot tolerate lactose at all, and even dairy without lactose can be a dodgy. This means ice cream is quite often out, though there are a few dairy free tubs out there. I decided this was the push I needed to dust of my poor neglected ice cream maker and get experimenting. First things first I had to chose a flavour, this was dictated to a degree by my sponge base.

My sponge base was already sorted as I had a little of the lemon semolina cake left over from Sunday, so I cut two slices then used a cookie cutter to get two circles.

So my ice cream had to be flavour that went well with lemon. Many dairy free ice cream recipes make use of coconut milk, and I had plenty of raspberries in the fridge and so I thought a coconut and raspberry ice cream atop a lemon sponge would be rather good and that is what I went ahead with. The ice cream in made half and half with coconut milk and almond milk and so it is not super super coconuty, but the coconut flavour is definitely there.

Coconut raspberry ripple ice cream (dairy free)

300ml almond milk
300ml coconut milk (full fat, shake the can really well before opening. 
75g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
2  heaped tsp cornflour
60g raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Put the almond milk, coconut milk, caster sugar and vanilla into a saucepan and heat gently, with stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Mix the cornflour with a plash of water or almond milk then add to the pan, increase the heat a little and cook until thickened slightly. The mixture will coat the back of the spoon but will not be super thick like custard, this is how it should be. Transfer the mixture to a jug and refrigerate.

Once the mixture is cool add to an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturers instructions.

While the ice cream is churning mash the recipes to a runny pulp, taste and add a little sugar if you think that it is necessary. When the ice cream forms a soft-medium scoop then transfer it to a tupperware and quickly swirl through the raspberries. Place in the freezer for a few hours to allow the ice cream to firm up, at this point I left the ice cream overnight ready for the next step. 

This ice cream tasted lovely and was perfect for the baked alaska but if eating it as just an ice cream I would need it to be creamier.. I reckon using coconut cream would work, I will continue my ice cream experimentation at a later date!

I must confess that when making my alaska I did not follow a recipe and nor did I weigh out anything. However what I did is as follows...

Individual baked alaska

I formed two scoops of ice cream and put them on a plate in the freezer to make sure they were set solid.

A couple of hours later I cut two circles with a cutter from two slices of cake that I had made 

I then made my meringue, I whipped up two eggs whites in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water until soft peaks formed then added sugar (by eye, sorry) and whipped until stiff glossy peaks were formed. Many of the contestants used Italian meringue, or you could use swiss, google will tell you the amounts to use!

I then assembled! I placed the hardened scoop of ice cream onto the round of sponge. Then I topped the whole thing with meringue making sure that all the ice cream and most of the sponge was covered. I used a teaspoon to make rustic peaks but you could use a piping bag. I then toasted the whole thing with my cook blow torch. If you had no blow torch you could put the whole thing under a hot grill for a minute or two... watch it like a hawk!

I did enjoy my very first baked alaska, they look amazing and unusual flavor combinations could turn this into a very stunning dessert to impress others with.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Lemon semonlina cake

I had lemons in the fruit bowl and a massive bag of semolina in my cupboard, so when deciding what to bake this weekend it seemed like fate that I found this recipe for lemon semolina cake in the first book I was flicking through.

This is a recipe from Peyton and Byrne, British Baking.

Lemon Semolina Cake (Peyton and Bryne)

125g dairy free spread (I use pure)
125g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
3 medium eggs
3 tbsp dairy free milk (I used almond milk)
Zest and juice of two lemons
1/2 tsp vanilla paste/extract
125g semolina flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 170/150C FAN/ GAS MARK 3. Grease a 900g loaf tin and line the base with a stip of parchment paper.

Beat together the DF spread and sugar until pale and creamy, add the almonds and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next. Stir in the milk, then add in the lemon zest and juice and vanilla extract. Sift in the semolina and baking powder and mix into the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and smooth into the corners. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

This cake will keep well for 3 or so days in an airtight tin

The recipe suggests dusting with icing sugar and serving with fresh berries

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Gluten free bread rolls

Bread week on bake off, great to watch not so much fun to try and recreate. Gluten free bread has come on leaps and bounds in the supermarkets but just take a look at all the ingredients. Even recipes for 'make at home' gluten free bread have more ingredients than homemade wheat bread. I am trying to accept this but making gluten free bread still makes me miss wheat bread incredibly.

My first foray into gluten free bread was a disaster. I followed a recipe for gluten free baguettes... they were tough, tasteless and only made vaguely palatable when I toasted thin slices and smothered them with a homemade roast garlic paste and served them alongside a flavoursome fish stew.

I decided to try again and the Bake off inspired me to try rolls. Now I obviously could not make rye rolls but I decided to try making rolls with some buckwheat flour, as this has a characteristic nutty character, not too unlike rye. Buckwheat contrary to its name is not actually wheat, they are from two completely different families. Be careful when buying buckwheat flour, many say they contain gluten simply because the buckwheat is so are so contaminated during the growth and milling process.

I made my own recipe based on what I researched on-line. The recipe is in american cup measurements as much of the research I read was in american measurements.

2 cups, dove farm GF bread flour mix
1/2 cup GF buckwheat flour
1/4 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
1½ tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp (7g) dried quick yeast
2 scant tsp brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water 
2 Tbsp dairy-free margarine
1 egg (preferably room temp)
1 tsp. cider vinegar

In a mixing bowl mix together the flours, xanthan gum, quick yeast, sugar, and salt.
With and electric mixer running on low speed, add in the water, DF spread, egg, and cider vinegar and mix on high speed 3 minutes.
Lightly oil a 8 inch springfrom cake tin  and using a ⅓ cup measuring cup, scoop the dough into 7 mounds in the pan. I placed one mound in middle, then scoop 6 mounds of dough side by side all the way around the pan.

 Dip your fingertips into warm water and use to smooth out the tops of the rolls, continuing to wet fingers as needed.

Cover with a dry towel and let rise in a warm place 45 minutes to 1 hour. During the last few minutes that the rolls are rising, preheat oven to GAS MARK 6.

Bake in  the preheated oven for 26-30 minutes until the tops are golden brown before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

The rolls turned out much fluffier then my baguettes, in fact the crust was crusty and the inside soft and fluffy just like wheat bread. This made me very happy. I will be making these again but I will add more buckwheat flour as I did not quite feel that the amount used came through enough... I was sparing based on others saying it was really nutty in flavour, on tasting these rolls could easily take more.

I want to try finding a Gluten free bread with a few less ingredients and without the egg, not because I have anything against eggs but I think you can taste it a little and I do not really want that taste in my bread. Saying that I would prefer to use egg over artificial chemicals so I think some experimenting is in order!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Pecorino biscuits

Hi, prepare for a few bake off posts in a row, I had planned to bake along with the bake off and of course as soon as it came on TV I went off to do volunteer work. I am catching up over the weekend and should be back on track by the episode on Wednesday.

I decided to make savoury biscuits for biscuit week, I have already made Florentines and to be honest did not have time to make a 3D creation, why you ask? because I HANDED MY THESIS IN!!! Anyway I genuinely liked the sound of a savoury nibble.

As an added bonus I used pecorino and pumpkin seeds and so I will enter these into this months alpha bakes.

These are gluten free and lactose free, I used lactose free pecorino, if lactose is your issue these are fab but not suitable for other dairy allergy sufferers. If you do not have an issue with gluten feel free to use plain flour and they will work perfectly too.

Pecorino rounds

50g GF plain flour
pinch of cayenne pepper
15g semolina
50g DF spread (I use pure)
50g pecorino cheese, grated
1 medium egg yolk
1 tsp olive oil

1 egg yolk
15g pecorino cheese grated
pumpkin seeds
pinch of cayenne

Put the flour, cayenne pepper and semolina into a bowl and mix. Rub the spread with your finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Dairy free spread is softer than butter so work quickly and don't worry that your 'breadcrumbs' are large. Stir in the 50g of cheese using a metal spoon. Briefly beat the egg and then add the egg and olive oil to the dry ingredients and bring together into a dough using a metal knife and cutting motion. Form the dough into a fat disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN/GAS MARK 4 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the chilled dough to a thickness of 3mm. Cut out small rounds and place them on the prepared sheet. Push remaining dough together, re roll and cut more biscuits.

Brush the biscuits with a little beaten egg, sprinkle over the 15g of cheese, place a couple of pumpkin seeds on top and add a small dusting of cayenne pepper. Bake for 8-12 minutes until golden, transfer to a wire rack to cool a little before consuming.

We had these warm with a glass of prosecco before a light evening meal and they were delicious, we also had the leftovers later that evening, cold but still delicious... I therefore have no idea how well they keep!