Friday, 31 May 2013

Foodie Pen Pals – Gluten Free Sweet Potato Crackers

This month’s foodie pen pals parcel was an absolute delight to open. As soon as I tore through the packaging the beautifully rich aroma of coffee hit my nose.  The smell of freshly ground coffee beans is one of life’s little pleasures and I immediately knew this month I had received a great parcel. I was already excited before the parcel had even arrived as this month I was paired up with Saidas and Rita from Lithuania. I don’t know an awful lot about Lithuanian cuisine so was really excited to see what exotic treats I might receive.

As you may have guessed from my initial description my parcel had a distinct coffee theme. This was because when Saidas and Rita first got in touch they asked what food thing I could not live without. My immediate response was coffee. Now I’m not a total caffeine fiend and I rarely drink more than one coffee a day (I can quite happily live for days without a coffee) but I really appreciate a good cup of java and honestly don’t think I would be able to live without it! So my foodie pen pals took the hint and sent my some lovely coffee related goods.

There was of course coffee! The little sachets of Gurmans Kava are apparently a popular brand in Lithuania and I have already sampled one of these and can see why as it really was a delicious coffee.

Coffee chocolate – This is dark and rich and perfect for after dinner snacking (I have ‘snacked’ my way through most of it already

Coffee sweet – These have taken up residence in my desk at work providing much needed afternoon treats!

Dried cottage cheese – Apparently this is great enjoyed with a cold beer, I haven’t had the chance to try it yet but is certainly something different.

Pumpkin crackers – A perfect accompaniment to the cheese.

So a great package that will provide me with a good few caffeine fixes over the next month or so! Thanks Saidas and Rita.

It was also quite a coincidence that I received cheese and crackers as these were two of the items that I sent to my foodie pen pal this month. Teresa (who has a lovely arts and craft blog at Rockspring Crafts) confessed to loving cheese and trying different varieties so while on a work trip to Wales earlier this month I picked up a local one for her. And I don’t think cheese should really be eaten without biscuits so I made these gluten free crackers for her to enjoy.


100g sweet potato
15ml olive oil
100g gluten free flour mix
1 tsp xanthum gum
Lots of black pepper (to taste)

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.

Take the sweet potatoes and zap on full power on in the microwave for 5 to 7 minutes until cooked through. Allow the potatoes to cool before peeling and mashing (I used my ricer at this stage to produce a smooth mash).

Mix the potato with all of the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl until combined into a smooth dough.

Dust the work surface with a little flour and roll out the dough until about 1/2cm thick. Cut out rounds using a biscuit cutter and transfer to the baking tray.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before enjoying with cheese.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Frappuccino Ice cream and edible Hazelnut-Chocolate bowls

I recently had an ice cream crisis….the crisis being I had run out of ice cream. This is never a good thing in my life and so I thought the best way to solve this problem (rather than go out and just buy ice cream so that I could immediately cure my cravings) was to root around my cupboards and decide I would make my own. A rummage at the back of my cupboard revealed a tin of condensed milk, which is a great base for a no-churn ice cream, and a box of Ferrero Rocher (I have no clue where these had come from but they may have been a left over from Christmas!!!). So I decided to combine these ingredients together with some strong black coffee to make a devine after dinner style concoction that ended up tasting like a Frappuccino, perfect for a sunny afternoon.

I then noticed that this months ‘Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream’ challenge, as run by Kavey from Kavey Eats, was to make edible ice cream containers (whether that be a cone or bowl) and so I decided my Frappuccino ice cream needed a suitable edible housing. Taking inspiration from the chocolatey hazelnut chunks provided by the crushed up Ferrero Rocher in the ice cream I utilised another store cupboard find (a jar of Nutella) to make gluten free chocolate-hazlenut tuille baskets, and I have to say I was rather pleased with the results.


250ml strong, freshly brewed coffee
1 tablespoon caster sugar
200ml full fat milk
250ml whipping cream
1 tin condensed milk (397g)
10 Ferrero Rocher

Take 250ml of freshly brewed coffee, add the sugar and stir until dissolved then add the milk and place to one side to cool.

In a large clean bowl whisk the cream until it becomes thick and starts to stiffen up forming soft peaks.

Fold the coffee and condensed milk mixture into the cream mixture before chopping up the Ferrero 

Rocher into small chunks and folding these into the mixture as well.

Once the chocolatey chunks are evenly distributed throughout the mixture transfer to a freezer proof container and bung in the freezer overnight.

Then scoop into a bowl and enjoy.


50g caster sugar
40g butter
125g Nutella
30g ground hazelnuts
1 egg

Pre-heat the oven to 220° C and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.

Beat the sugar and butter together until smooth. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix until a smooth batter is formed.

Take a spoonful of the mixture and dollop onto the baking tray then using the back of a spoon or a palette knife spread the mixture out into a thin disc shape.

Repeat with a few more spoonfuls (but leave space for the mixture to spread out further on the baking tray).

Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Then when you remove the tuiles you have to move fast!!! Have a couple of small bowls turned upside down, using a spatula remove one of the tuiles at a time and place over the bowls so that they take on the bowl shape before they cool and harden. Repeat with the rest of the tuiles.

Then repeat the process until all of the mixture is used up.

Et voila….an edible Ferrero Rocher inspired bowl for the Frappuccino ice cream to sit in.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Hungarian plum and cinnamon dumplings

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
6 plums

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

No Added Sugar Flapjacks

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.

50g dates
50g raisins
20g goji berries
200ml hot water 
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g butter
50g malt extract
50g honey
50g oat bran
400g rolled oats
100g sultanas

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).