Sunday, 19 May 2013
In case you aren’t into euro-eccentric fun you may not have been aware that it was the Eurovision song contest yesterday. Well myself and my friends (including a particularly Eurovision obsessed Australian) love a bit of camp Euro-Pop accompanied by some interpretive dance and the occasional giant! So last night I attended a Eurovision party where each guest had to dress as a participating country and take along some food and drink from that region of Europe. I ended up attending this party as Hungary and thanks to the Hungarian tourist board website containing regional recipes I took along a plate of Hungarian Plum dumplings…which with just a few minor alterations became a gluten free treat!!
So I thought I would share this recipe….although the original gluten full recipe can be found here.
800g potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
200g gluten free flour
1 tsp xanthum gum
2 tsp cinnamon
50g caster sugar
25g soft brown sugar
50g gluten free (or panko) breadcrumbs
Boil the potatoes until tender, drain and allow to cool before mashing (I used my potato ricer at this point!)
While the potatoes are boiling place the caster sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl.
Halve the plums and remove the stone from each. Gently score the skin on each plum half and place the plums into the sugar mix, ensure all of the plums are coated in the sugar mix and place to one side.
Transfer the mashed potato to another bowl, add the oil, flour and xanthum gum and mix together using your hands until a firm dough is formed.
Take a small handful of the dough and using your hands flatten it into a small disc. Take a plum half and place on the disc and work the dough around the plum until it is completely encased in the dough.
Repeat with the remaining dough and plum halves.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Place a couple of the dumplings into the pan at a time and leave until the dumplings begin to float. At this point they are cooked so carefully remove from the water with a slotted spoon and leave to drain while you continue to cook the rest of the dumplings.
Finally add the breadcrumbs to the remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture, take each dumpling and roll in the sugar mix until completely coated. Repeat until all of the dumplings are coated and then tuck in!!
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Once again time has flown by since my last blog update. I blame work for getting in the way, as well as a trip home to see the family and a camping weekend in Wales. Before I was jetting all over the place however I made a stack of these flapjacks. I love a good oaty flapjack and by just using dried fruit and a little honey there is no need to add sugar or golden syrup to tea time treats.
20g goji berries
200ml hot water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g malt extract
50g oat bran
400g rolled oats
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
Place the dates, raisins, goji berries, bicarbonate of soda and hot water into a bowl and place to one side for approximately 30 minutes to allow the fruit to absorb some of the liquid.
After half an hour blitz the fruit and water together with a stick blender to form a thick paste.
Place the butter, malt extract and honey into a medium sized saucepan and place over a gentle heat, stirring until melted and combined.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the fruit paste before stirring in the oats and oatbran. Stir until well combined.
Finally stir in the sultanas until evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Spread the oat mixture into a 30cm x 20cm baking tin lines with baking parchment.
Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly brown in colour.
Remove the flapjacks from the oven and allow to cool slightly before turning out of the tin and slicing into generous rectangles (should make 12-16 flapjacks).
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
The end of the month (and the beginning of spring) can mean only one thing. And this month I received a parcel from the continent, the Netherlands to be precise, so I got a lovely mixture of foreign treats from Cynni.
Caramel and Vanilla Tea – This is a lovely, slightly sweet tea that I am already regularly tucking into at work.
Stroopwafels – I’ve had these caramel filled waffles before and these are some of the best I have tried.
Pumpernickle Bread – I am also a fan of all things rye and this bread is light but malty.
Fruit bars – A selection of fruity snack bars that will provide a bit of variety from the normal fruity treats you can buy here
Hazelnut chocolate – Chocolate + Hazelnut = yum!
So thanks Cynni for the lovely parcel, I look forward to munching my way through all of these treats!
I sent my parcel to Kari, and after making my own Cashew NutButter the other day I thought I had better find a use for it (rather than just eating out of the jar with a spoon). A little internet research and I found numerous recipes using peanut butter to make biscuits without any flour and so I would attempt a cashew version. I was slightly dubious that eggs, nut and sugar would form a stable biscuit and after dolloping the first batch mixture onto the baking tray and watching it endlessly spread out I started panicking that the recipe wouldn’t work. So in the midst of panic I added some gluten free flour to the mix. The results – two successful batches of biscuits! So if you have the nerve it is possible to make flourless biscuits!
250g cashew nut butter (find out how to make your own here)
150g caster sugar
Optional ingredient – 100g gluten free flour mix
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°C.
Line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.
In a large bowl combine the cashew nut butter, sugar and eggs and beat until well combined and smooth.
(If you don’t have the nerve for flourless biscuits fold the flour into the mixture at this point).
Dollop teaspoon sized portions of the mixture onto the baking tray, leave a lot of space between the biscuits as the mixture will spread (especially if you don’t use flour).
Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Monday, 29 April 2013
I have a fairly unhealthy addiction to peanut butter. As long as it is of the crunchy variety (I really don’t understand why you would choose smooth when you could get added chunks of peanut goodness) I can eat the stuff out of the jar with a spoon and I can be regularly found dunking celery sticks into the peanut butter jar in an attempt to convince myself I am indulging in a healthy snack! There is a whole world of alternative nut butters out there thought and I made a decision to not restrain myself to the peanut variety alone. When browsing the ‘alternative’ shelves at my local supermarket I came across a giant bag of cashew nuts at a majorly reduced price. So rather than just buying a bar of a non-peanut butter I thought I would make my own…how hard can it be? Well not hard at all, as it turns out, it really couldn’t be much simpler.
350g cashew nuts
Place the cashew nuts on a bowl and cover with water, set aside for a couple of hours to allow the nuts to soften. (I decided to soften my nuts first as my food processor is starting to look a little worse for wear and I was worried I would start seeing smoke if I confronted it with unsoaked nuts!)
Drain the nuts and pat dry with kitchen towel. Place into a food processor and blend (you may need to do this in batches). And keep blending….at first the nuts crumble into small pieces but keep going and eventually the natural oils in the nuts start to be released and a thick paste is formed. Keep going a little bit further and voila….cashew nut butter.
Store in a clean, sterilised jar and use as you would with any other nut butter (spread on toast, in milkshakes, on celery, eaten straight from the spoon…….)
Monday, 15 April 2013
On a recent rummage through my freezer I came across a tub of chestnut puree that had been lingering there since last autumn. Rather than let it dwell in the freezer any longer I thought I had better dig it out and find a use for it. On a further rummage through my cupboard I discovered a packet of spelt flour that I had bought a while back as it is an ingredient I haven’t used in baking before but was keen to try.
Spelt is an ancient relative of modern wheat and is most similar to whole wheat flour. The gluten in spelt flour however breaks down a lot more readily compared with traditional wheat flour so it doesn’t require quite as much kneading or proving time when making bread.
And so I decided to combine these two forgotten ingredients into one lovely recipe and set about making chestnut and spelt bread.
1 tablespoon of molasses
1 tablespoon of malt extract
7g dried yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
300g spelt flour
75g rye flour
Pinch of salt
175g chestnut puree (see here for a method to make your own)
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C / 430°F
Mix the molasses, malt extract, yeast and warm water together in a small bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile sift both of the flours and the salt into a large mixing bowl.
After 10 minutes add the remaining water and the chestnut puree to the yeast mixture and stir until well combined. Once mixed together add to the flour. Then use you hands to bring the wet and dry ingredients together until a firm dough is formed.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and slightly springy to the touch.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover with cling film, leave in a warm spot until the dough has
doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto the work surface again and shape into a round loaf and transfer to a baking tray. Leave the dough for another 30 minutes.
Finally slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife before transferring to the oven and baking for 25 minutes until nicely browned and crusty.
Monday, 1 April 2013
I’m a little bit late with my Foodie Pen Pals post this month, but I blame Easter for getting in the way. And as they say good things come to those who wait and this month I really do have an amazingly good box of goodies thanks to Anna over at Lemony loves Baking.
So in no particular order I got;
Zero Noodles – These are gluten and wheat free ‘Konnyaku’ noodles. Apparently Konnyaku is a perennial plant and the root from this is edible and used to make these noodles. It certainly isn’t an ingredient I had ever heard of before but am looking forward to trying this unusual ingredient.
Garlic and Black Sea Salt – These are really cute little pots of salt and I’m really intrigued by the black salt as it isn’t something I have come across before.
Edible flowers – These are so cute and will certainly suit some spring time cup cakes (I just need the weather to match before I start some baking!)
Umami Paste – This is something I have been meaning to invest in for ages but Foodie Pen Pal intuition has kindly provided this for me, a great addition to my ever bulging store cupboard.
Caramel, Lemon and Poppy Seed popcorn – I love popcorn so tucked into this straight away. As first it has a really sweet, toffee kick but a little more munching and the subtle savoury lemony flavours burst through….delicious.
Tea – I love tea and I love tea pigs tea even more so this was a perfect addition to the parcel.
TimTams – Last but not least a packet of TimTams. These are an Australian biscuit (I think a little like a penguin) that should be eaten by performing a ‘TimTam Slam’. Luckily Anna provided me with instructions on how to perform a ‘Slam’ and although I haven’t had a chance to do this yet I am looking forward to sitting down with a cup of Tea Pigs tea and one of these later to give a TimTam Slam a go.
So thanks Anna, this was a really gorgeous parcel with so many exciting things that I haven’t tried before and look forward to munching my way through all of the lovely treats….thanks!
I then sent a parcel to Rose this month. As well as some dried rose petals which she used in this delightful looking recipe I made some gluten free miso and sesame crackers using my home made cannellini bean flour and thought I would share this recipe with you all.
FOR THE FLOUR
400g dried cannellini beans
FOR THE CRACKERS
300g homemade bean flour
100g rice flour
50g sesame seeds
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
3 tblspns melted butter
2 tblspns red miso paste
1 tblspn soy sauce
To make the bean flour pre-heat the oven to 200°C/390°F. Place the beans on a large baking tray and place in the oven for 30 minutes, shaking occasionally to ensure none of the beans brown to much.
Remove the beans from the oven and allow to cool before transferring in batched into a food processor. Blitz each batch of beans to produce a fine flour and sieve into a large mixing bowl, returning any larger pieces of bean to the food processor for a second blitzing. Repeat until all of the beans have been transferred into flour.
Lower the oven temperature to 100°C/225°F.
Place the bean flour, rice flour, sesame seeds and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining wet ingredients to the bowl and mix until fully combined. As the ingredients come together use your hands to form a ball of dough.
Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Place the ball of dough onto the centre of the baking tray and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until it spread evenly over the tray. Take a sharp knife and score the dough into equal sized rectangles.
Place the baking tray into the oven and bake for an hour (checking every now and again to ensure the mixture doesn’t brown too much around the edges). Then remove from the oven and allow the mixture
to cool before carefully breaking into the rectangles and previously scored out.
These crackers are quite salty but go really well with cream cheese and cucumber or smoked fish.
Thursday, 28 March 2013
I mentioned last year that it has been a long standing tradition in my family to gather together on Good Friday and participate in an ever so slightly competitive hot cross bun bakingcompetition! Unfortunately I’m not heading home for Easter this year, but that hasn’t stopped me from making my own hot cross buns.
Last year my tropical vegan hotcross buns were a real success and I wasn’t really sure where to go from there. I had been contemplating creating a gluten free version of this seasonal product but in the end opted for something a little simpler and went for a hot cross but with no added sugar (just a little sweetness added from apple juice and a tiny dollop of honey). But with the right balance of spicing and the natural sweetness from the dried fruit these had the perfect amount of sweetness and a really lovely light texture. My housemate and colleagues were suitably impressed with my efforts and I think if I was at home I would certainly be a front runner in this year’s competition!!! So if any of my extended family are reading this you are lucky I’m not at home this year because I would have been tough to beat (and if you want to take this blog post as a long distance entry even better!!).
So Happy Easter everyone, I’m now off to start my celebrations in my family’s traditional manner….by stuffing myself with A LOT of hot cross buns!!!
350g plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon mixed spice
1 7g sachet dried instant yeast
1 teaspoon honey
150ml apple juice
150g dried fruit (I used a mix that contained raisins, golden raisins and cranberries but any mixture of raisins, sultanas, cherries, cranberries, mixed peel would work well)
FOR THE CROSSES
50g plain flour
45 ml water
FOR THE GLAZE
1 tablespoon sugar free apricot jam (I used St. Dalfour’s jam which just contains fruit and uses grape juice concentrate as a natural sweetner)
1 tablespoon water
Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C
Start by putting all of the dried fruit into a bowl and add the apple juice and honey. Cover with cling film and set aside for at least 2 hours to allow the fruit to soak up some of the apple juice (although if you have time you can leave the fruit soaking overnight).
Place the flour, yeast and spices into a large bowl.
Put the milk and margarine into a small saucepan and place over a gentle heat until the margarine has melted, remove from the heat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly until luke warm.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture along with the dried fruit and any remaining apple juice that hasn’t been soaked up by the fruit.
Bring the wet and dry ingredients together with your hands until a large ball of dough is formed.
Tip the dough mixture out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until springy to the touch, return to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen divide into 8 equal portions and shape each into a round ball. Evenly space the balls on a large baking tray and score the tops with a knife to make a cross. Then allow to rise again for another 30 minutes.
In the meantime mix the 50g of flour and 45ml of water together in a small bowl until you have a smooth paste. Transfer the paste to a piping bag (you can make one of these out of a square of greaseproof paper, or alternatively just use a plastic sandwich bag with the corner snipped off).
Once risen pipe a cross onto each bun along the crosses previously scored into them. Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Place the jam and water in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for a couple of seconds until nicely runny. As soon as the hot cross buns are removed from the oven use a pastry brush to glaze the hot cross buns with the syrup.
Allow to cool just slightly then tuck in….add a knob of butter to a warm slice of hot cross bun for an extra indulgent addition to these seasonal treats.