Sunday, 17 November 2013

Farewell- eat well and goodbye

I haven't written much on this blog lately.  Life has changed, both my own and the general food environment.  Travelling in Cornwall the other day I stopped at a Starbucks cafe and was able to have a  gluten free sandwich, and my sister emailed me from Kolkata to say she had been to a spaghetti place and had gf ravioli!

So, despite the fact that much still needs to be done to improve food quality, both aesthetic and safety, and availability, and I still encounter waiters who look startled and completely nonplussed when I ask if things are gluten free, I am not going to write this blog any more.

Thanks to all of you that made me feel my work helped you a little too. Goodbye.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Triple ginger freezer biscuits - gluten and dairy free

This sticky dough is easy to handle if rolled in clingfilm and frozen.  Slice and bake a few biscuits at a time for a warm spicy aroma in the house on a cold winter day and a lovely crunchy treat.



Ingredients:

200g ground almonds
200g flour (40%urid, 40%tapioca, 20% brown rice)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove
1 tsp ground ginger (add more if wanted- this gives quite a mild ginger flavour)
100g sugar
120g dark brown muscovado sugar
75ml oil
2 eggs
20g grated fresh ginger
75g crystallised ginger, chopped
belgian waffle pearl sugar or sugar crystals for topping if wanted.  The pearl sugar keeps it shape, is crunchy but not too hard.

Oven 170C fan, ten minutes from frozen, seven or eight from room temperature mix.  Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before moving onto a baking rack.


Mix the dry ingredients together.  My muscovado sugar was a solid lump so I hacked off the right amount with a large knife and heated it in the microwave with the oil to get a slurry that was easy to mix into the flour.  If you do melt the brown sugar make sure the mixture is not too hot before you add it to the eggs - you don't want scrambled egg at this stage.

Mix liquid ingredients together and add to dry.  I used the food mixer for this as it was quite a lot of work to do by hand. Add in grated fresh ginger and chopped crystallised ginger and mix.

You can bake this in blobs on your lined baking sheet.  This amount of dough will make a lot of biscuits.  The dough holds its height when baked like this so flatten a bit with a damp spoon.

Alternatively lay on clingfilm in a log, wrap, put in freezer on a baking sheet until firm.  Once firm the baking sheet can be removed. There is a risk that the dough would sag around your freezer racks if you put it straight in unsupported and so get stuck in place.

When you want to bake some biscuits just slice off thin layers, sprinkle with sugar if you want to, and bake on a lined baking sheet.



Sunday, 26 May 2013

Packing for my holidays.....bagging gf bread flour



I am spending part of the summer in my campervan in Cornwall.   For three days I will be on a painting course in Newlyn, and for a week I will have my sister staying with me.  I thought that bread would be helpful for picnics- which means making sure I have plenty of my own flour available.  I can eat M&S bread as it doesn't have any xanthum gum, but I find it doesn't hold up well for sandwiches.  I did finally find one of their ready-made gf sandwiches at a motorway service station the other day, and bought it even though I had to remove the cheese.  That did seem to hold ok, but it was packed in a protective plastic holder.


So, as part of my summer packing, this morning I ground two kilos of urid lentils, and mixed the resulting flour with two kilos of tapioca flour, and one kilo of brown rice.  I also added 2% of the Solanic 301 potato protein, which makes gf breads work so much better.  It stops them slumping once the get over a couple of inches high, and improves the texture.  My usual supplier of urid lentils is now offering urid flour that has not been packed in a facility that also handles wheat, so when my current supplies run out I think I will switch to ready ground flour.  That would make travelling a lot easier, as well as reducing the need for me to travel with multiple packs of unlabelled powder; having had the campervan stopped and thoroughly searched by French Customs once in the middle of France on our way back from a Surprise 60th Birthday in Geneva  I prefer not to look suspicious.

Once mixed I bagged the flour in 300g packs and heat sealed it.  This will allow me to make a small loaf (1lb tin) with ease by adding a teaspoon of yeast and enough water (about 250ml) to get a sloppy dough, leaving it to rise and baking in the campervan oven.  It will also work for flat breads like pizza, which bakes great on the barbeque.


I had 130g of flour left over so made four pannetone flavoured buns, with the peel and flavouring I got from  BakeryBits.






Spiced sweet-potato cake; gluten and dairy free


This cake is soft and reminiscent of the filling in pumpkin pie.  Not surprising really, when it has mashed sweet potato as its main ingredient.

To do ahead of time

Cook sweet potatoes in the microwave (or oven if you have it running for something else) until they are soft.  Mine took about eight minutes - four small sweet potatoes. Leave to cool then remove the peel and mash.  I found it easiest to cut an end off and scoop the sweet potato out with a circular action with a fork.  Do this ahead of time so you don't be tempted to work with them while they are very hot and burn yourself.   Keep the peel and spritz with oil, put on a baking sheet, and cook for 20-30 minutes in the oven for a crisp scoop for spicy salsa.

My muscovado sugar is always a solid lump.  Hack enough sugar off and leave put in a bowl with the oil and eggs so it dissolves - this will make the rest of the cake making much easier.

Ingredients
400g mashed cooked sweet potato - mine was 460g whole (4 small)
125g muscovado sugar
125 ml oil
3 eggs
125 g self raising flour (mine is 40%urid, 40% tapioca, 20% rice, with 1 tsp bp for each 100g)
1 tsp mixed spice /pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix the sugar, oil and egg and leave for the lumps of sugar to dissolve if needed.
Mix in the cooled mashed sweet potato, flour and spices.

Pour the sloppy cake mix into a greased/lined tin.  I used a 9inch square tin as I wanted a shallow cake.

Bake in a pre-heated oven, 175C fan, for 40-45 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Leave in tin for a few minutes on the cooling rack to allow it to firm slightly, then remove from tin and leave to cool, or eat hot as a pudding with icecream.  If you want a firmer cake add some more flour or cut down on the sweet potato.







Sunday, 19 May 2013

Posh Dogs - Marks and Spencers gluten free outdoor-reared giant sausages

M&S gluten free 'posh dogs'

Another visit to a motorway service station and a hunt for something to eat in the M&S.  A hand of tiny sweet bananas and a fruit jelly....and a packet of 'Posh Dog's for later in the campervan. These are large sausages that beg for a soft roll, mustard and a pile of softly cooked onions.

These sausages say they are best cooked on the barbecue, but I just did them indoors in a pan as it was late and I was hungry.  They take a while to cook, but are very good and well worth adding to your repertoire, particularly if we get a summer where eating outside is possible.  We ate these hot and also cold with chutney.

They do contain sulphites, but none of the other standard allergens.  They are made from outdoor reared pork.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Prune and almond chewy high-fibre high-protein cookies


These cookies are chewy and chocolaty. Cook them for less time for a softer chewy cookie, or leave in at a lower temperature for longer for a firm cookie.  I rolled them out and cut shaped cookies, but you can just make blobs and press them flat with your fingers, or cut them into bars.  They hold their shape well, are quiet to eat, and don't make crumbs, making them ideal to tuck into your bag for a trip. Increase the cocoa of you want a more chocolaty flavour - this is just enough to give a warm hint.  I haven't tried it but I am pretty sure you could skip the egg without much effect if you need egg-free recipes.

Ingredients
250g dried prunes
100 ml oil
1 egg
200g ground almonds
75g urid lentil flour
20g cocoa
40g ground flax seed
200g sugar
1 tsp mixed spice

Blitz the prunes in a blender with the oil and egg to make a paste.  Scrape into a bowl and mix in all the other ingredients.  The dough will be firm but malleable; I mixed this with my hands but if you have a food mixer use the dough hook to save effort.

Either take small blobs and press onto a lined cookie tray, roll into a log, chill and then slice into cookies, or roll out using more urid or other flour to stop sticking and cut into shapes.

Bake at 175C fan for six to eight minutes depending on how thick your cookies are and how chewy you want them.  You can always put them back in to the oven for further baking if they are too soft when they cool.

Slide the cookies on their lining paper onto a cooling rack and let them cool for a minute before trying to move the onto the cooling rack.  Stiffening slightly makes them easier to move.

This amount of dough made about 70 small cookies.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Lemon Drizzle Cake - gluten free




I used to make lemon drizzle cake a lot for a cafe, but discovered I had never written it up so when I wanted to make on I had to do an Internet hunt.  I based this cake on the BBC Good Food recipe.  Making this cake marks a sad moment for me as it is the last day of my glass course at the excellent shop/training/studio at the Creative Glass Guild in Bristol.  My teacher, Jen, is fantastic, full of expertise and very kind to over-enthusiastic novices. I asked what type of cake to bring and she requested lemon drizzle, so her wishes trump the other students' please for ginger, parkin.....

Slight problem in that I have given away so much flour recently for people to test my bread recipe that I have run out of tapioca.  I thought I had a whole box left - lots of urid and lots of brown rice but no tapioca, and no store in Worcester sells it. I also ran out of baking powder and then forgot to get it when I went into town, so not the best start.  By using the tapioca I keep plain for thickening sauces or making tapioca gloop for flatbreads I managed to make 225g flour, which the recipe called for, but that seemed a bit stingy for thirteen hungry artisans.  Another 75g of almond flour makes this cake more substantial.  I forgot to increase the sugar and had no more butter, so this is a cake which is tangy and not very sweet.  However, my regular taster, who has a very sweet tooth, declared it to be perfect.

Ingredients:
225 g self raising flour (I use urid, 40%, tapioca 40% and rice 20%, with 1 tsp baking powder for 100g flour to make self raising four)
75g almond flour/meal
225 g butter, soft
225 g sugar for cake
5 eggs
Zest and juice of 2-3 lemons depending on how tangy you like your cake.  I used 2.5
100g sugar for topping

Set oven at 175C fan

Beat the butter until light and fluffy, add sugar and beat until fluffy.  Mix in eggs a little at a time, then add the lemon zest (not the juice) and flours, a little at a time, beating well between each addition.

Spoon the batter into a greased/lined baking tin.  I used a square tin as I wanted lots of shallow pieces to make them easier to eat without plates or cutlery.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top springs back when lightly pressed and a knife comes out clean.

Leave in tin to cool.  Mix the lemon juice with the remaining 100g of sugar.  Pierce the cake with a fork and slowly pour the lemony sugar over the cake.  Leave in tin to cool completely

The lemon sinks in and the sugar makes a fine crust on the surface.