Monday, 24 December 2012

Chocolate-chestnut mousse pots

Chestnuts are synonymous with Christmas in my family. I am already salivating at the thought of the chestnut stuffing my aunty makes every year to fill one end of the plump, golden turkey that adorns our dinner table on the big day. I think I could quite easily forgo the turkey for a big slab of this stuffing covered in lashings of gravy and adorned with all of the appropriate accompaniments. 

But anyway I think I am getting a little distracted! As well as the many savoury uses of chestnuts (including my gnocchi recipe) they are also great in sweet dishes and these little pots of baked chestnut and chocolate mousse are a great (and very easy to make) festive treat. They can also be made in advance and popped in the fridge until needed so won’t take up extra time during the busy Christmas entertainment period.

This recipe was only very slightly adapted from an original recipe at Canadian House and Home magazine to suit the quantities of ingredients I had so go check out the original too!


120g good quality dark chocolate
220g chestnut puree (can be bought ready-made or follow my instructions to make your own)
160ml whipping cream
4 eggs, separated
75g golden caster sugar
2 tablespoons Cointreau

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F

Place the chocolate, chestnut puree and whipping cream into a saucepan, place over a medium heat and stir until the chocolate has melted and the ingredients are well combined. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and place to one side.

In a large, clean bowl whisk the egg whites, gradually adding the sugar as you do until the mixture begins to stiffen and resemble soft peaks.

Beat the egg yolks together in a small bowl and then slowly add to the cooled chocolate mixture until fully incorporated. Then add the Cointreau (or other liqueur of choice) to the chocolate mixture.

Finally gently fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture.

Divide the mixture between 6 ramekins.

Take a deep roasting tin and place the ramekins into this then fill the roasting tin with boiled water so that the level of the water is half way up the sides of the ramekins before placing into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes until the top of each little mousse has risen up (but don’t worry if the mousse doesn't seem fully set, these taste really good of still a little gooey in the middle).

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before wrapping each pot in cling film and placing in the fridge for at least a couple of hours (overnight is best) before tucking in. And these pots will keep for a couple of days in the fridge if you want to make in advance.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Gluten Free Chickpea Crackers

These little crackers are really easy to make and provide a great gluten free alternative to most other savoury biscuits.  These are perfect dunked into tapenade or topped with sour cream and smoked salmon….perfect as a little canapĂ© when entertaining this festive season. And to add to the festivities rather than using the normal round cutters why not try something a little more appropriate, like my little stars!?!


1 can chickpeas (drained)
1 tablespoon basil pesto
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon gluten free baking powder
50g gluten free flour
25g black olives (chopped into tiny chunks)

Pre-heat oven to 160 deg C / 320 deg F

Place the chickpeas, pesto and olive oil into a liquidiser of food processor and blitz until a smooth paste is formed.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients to form a firm dough.

Liberally dust the work surface with gluten free flour. Carefully roll out the dough until about 1/2cm thick. Then cut out crackers into your desired shape using an appropriate cookie cutter.

Transfer the little crackers to a baking tray lined with non-stick baking parchment and place in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.  Once cooled the crackers can be kept into an air tight container for a couple of days until required.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe at Gluten Free Goodness .

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Sweet Potato Mince Pie Pastry

I really must apologise for not posting any new recipes for ages. I have been manically busy at work and then I got distracted by a rather lovely wedding back over on the other side of the Irish Sea from me! Whilst back in Liverpool I also had the chance to catch up with lots of old friends including Jo, for whom the original chocolate chickpea cake recipe that kick started this blog was made. Jo has successfully made a few of the recipes from the blog but requested a mince pie recipe that would fit in with her wheat and egg free diet. Never one to refuse a challenge (especially when it involves yummy Christmas treats) I got back into the kitchen on my return and came up with a gluten free vegan pastry that suits the purpose as mince pie pastry perfectly. Combined with my vegan zesty mincemeat recipe Jo can now enjoy mountains of mince pies this festive season along with the rest of us!


125g gluten free, wheat free flour (I always use Dove’s readymade blend)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
100g soya spread
200g sweet potato mash (I microwave my sweet potatoes with the skins on for approx. 5 to 6 minutes until soft, allow them to cool before peeling and mashing).

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.

Add the soya spread (alternatively use margarine or butter if you are not following a vegan diet) and rub into the flour mixture using your thumbs and forefingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Finally add the mashed sweet potato and use your hands to bring the mixture together into a firm ball (it may seem a bit sticky at this point but don’t worry too much about that!) Wrap the ball in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour until it is well chilled.

Pre-heat the oven to 190 deg C.

Grease a mini muffin tin with vegan spread (you can use a larger cake tin but I quite like bite sized mince pies so always go for the mini versions).

Remove your pastry from the fridge and gently roll out on a work surface generously dusted with gluten free flour. The pastry is quite delicate so be careful at this stage, I found it easiest to roll out small portions of the pastry at a time.

Use circular cutters to make rounds and gently transfer these to the mini muffin tin and use to line each indentation. Then place a generous teaspoon of mincemeat into each pie case. Next cut out smaller circles and add each pastry round as a lid to each pie. Brush the pies with water or soy milk and sprinkle with a little caster sugar.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven sprinkling each pie with a little extra sugar and transfer to a wire rack to cool.          

Any extra pastry can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days until you find another use for it, or popped into the freezer for use at a later date.