Saturday, 30 June 2012

Caramelised apricots and caramel frozen yogurt - lactose free

More adventures with my Channel Island yogurt where I pre-treated the milk with lactase.  This time a simple caramel frozen yogurt, made with a couple of tablespoons of soft brown sugar, cooked gently until it just began changing colour, a desert spoonful of Pineau des Charentes, picked up on a visit to some friends in western France, and a teaspoon of vanilla.  Let the caramel cool before adding the alcohol or it will evaporate, leaving a pleasant taste but not retaining its anti-freeze qualities.  Cool, mix with 500g yogurt and freeze in an ice-cream maker.

I bought some reasonable looking apricots but they were not as sumptuous as I wished - apricots really need to be picked ripe off the tree in the sunshine.  Cut each in half, sprinkle more of the brown sugar in wide pan and place the cut apricots on the sugar.  Cook gently on both sides.  The juice from the apricots will give the caramel sauce a lovely zingy flavour.

Serve with a scoop of the frozen yogurt and a little of the caramel drizzled over.

I only have white crockery - terrible for photographing very pale ice-cream!  I should have put this in a glass and photographed against a coloured background, but I ate my desert before I put the photos on the computer.  Tastes much better than it looks.

lactose-free caramlised banana frozen yogurt.

I buy channel island milk (made with the milk from Guernsy and Jersey cows) to make yogurt for my husband.  Properly made live yogurt has very small amounts of lactose, but even that is too much for me.  When I want a milk product I add lactase enzyme to the milk and leave it for twentyfour hours for the lactose to be converted to glucose. You can make this with bought lactose free yogurt, but it won't be as creamy.

This frozen yogurt is delicious and complex.

caramalised banana frozen yogurt

Main mixture

500g yogurt
2 bananas
small blob of butter or other cooking fat
50g sugar ( I used soft brown)
1tbsp of brandy/rum/vodka etc to make sure the frozen yogurt doesn't set too hard
1 tsp vanilla

Slice bananas and place in pan with butter on a medium heat.  Sprinkle sugar on top.  Cook until the sugar has melted and the bananas are soft.  Turn when they begin to get a hint of brown.  Don't wander off and forget this job.

Take off the heat when they smell of caramel.  Don't let it burn at all unless you like that bitter flavour.

When they have cooled a bit add the vanilla and alcohol. Don't put the alcohol in the mixture when it is hot or it will lose its anti-freeze properties and your frozen yogurt will be hard to scoop.

Cool.  When cold add to the yogurt and put in your icecream machine.  When it begins to go firm put in a plastic container and freeze until needed.

If you don't have an icecream machine you can make this by putting mix in a freezer tub that has spare room, freeze for half an hour, stir, repeat several times.  The sitrring reduces the chances of ending up with large ice crystals.

cooking banana with sugar
Swirl mixture
Repeat the caramalisation process with another banana and 15g of sugar.  When this mixture has cooled a bit add a small handful of chocolate chips - I used dark chocolate, and stir to melt.  Let this cool so that you can stir it into the yogurt when you put it into the tub.

Swirl the chocolatey banana mixture through the frozen yogurt before freezing.  You can leave this bit out, or skip the is up to you.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

gluten free spiced apple, cranberry and blueberry cake

This cake is sweet and tart with just a hint of spice.  It has plenty of fruit but isn't a solid wodge of dried fruit like some cakes of the wedding/christmas cake variety.

Many of my recipes happen in a slightly random way, driven by things that need using up.  Today I found I had seven small apples from a batch that hadn't been as crisp as expected, and were beginning to look a bit sorry for themselves, a large mandarin orange that had lost its gloss, and a husband that keeps wanting lunch early as there is no cake to go with his mid-morning coffee.

A large fruit cake seemed the obvious way to solve all of these problems.  I had already cooked the apples, chopped but not peeled, in with the orange juice and zest, before I decided to make the cake.  You wouldnt need to cook them first if you prefer the apple to stay in chunks in the finished cake.

Set oven at 170C fan
Grease and line two large cake tins.  I used a long pullman loaf tin (the lid is handy if the top starts to get too brown) which has a capacity of 3.5l and an ordinary one pound loaf tin (750ml) to fit all the mixture in.  I like to make a small cake for immediate eating and a larger one to mature, though having two different sizes means you have to keep an eye on how cooked they are as they will need different times.

500g cooked/chopped apples
juice and zest one small orange
500g dried blueberries
500g dried cranberries
8 eggs
300g soft brown sugar
250g soft butter (I keep mine in the freezer, so just zapped it on medium heat in the microwave - not so good for the precise temperatures needed for creaming, but fine for just mixing in)
400g flour
5 tsp baking powder
4tsp mixed spice

The flour used in this was 300g of my current flour mix(1/3 each urid lentil, brown rice and buckwheat) and an extra 100g urid lentil flour.  I ran out of flour and didn't want to make a fresh batch - so considering how much fruit there was in this cake just added extra urid as it will help hold it together.  I am sure 400g of the standard mix would have been fine.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and spice together.  Mix all the other ingredients together.  Stir together.  Put mix in greased lined tins and bake.

The smaller cake took an hour to cook.  Test with a  skewer or fine knife.  I use a knife even though I get a bigger hole as I find it easier to see the cake residue.  I turned the heat down to 150C and cooked the larger cake for a further half an hour.

Cool on a rack.

Good immediately; will keep well.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

GF seedy crispbread - urid, buckwheat and brown rice

Simple seedy crispbreads made with the new flour.  These crispbreads are made with a little yeast to encourage bubbles; I haven't run trials of different recipes with just plain flour, baking powder as the raising agent, or added oil.  I also don't know how long they will stay crisp.   A good shelf-life on crispbreads is useful so they can be a store cupboard staple.

150g flour (one third each urid lentils, brown rice and buckwheat)
5g poppy seed
5g linseed
10g sesame seed  (vary to taste)
c120ml water
1/4 tsp yeast

Mix yeast with water if needed.  Otherwise just mix all dry ingredients and then add the water.  You should have a firm but pliable dough.  Leave covered in a warm place for the yeast to begin to work.  I like a long slow fermentation for the flavour and digestive benefits, but I left these only a couple of hours.  The dough didn't rise much being so dry, just became a bit softer.

Roll out into whatever shape you want.  I made eight rough rounds about 12cm across. Place on ungreased baking sheets - I needed four to fit all the crispbreads on, but you could make a more space efficient set of crackers if you don't have four sheets handy.  Leave in a warm steamy place to rise a little.  They won't rise much as the dough is stiff and dry.  I put a small dish of hot water in the oven and close the door.

Bake at about 170C until just turning brown - 11 to 15 minutes.  The base of the crispbread that is in contact with the baking sheet will brown before the top.  Keep an eye on them so they don't burn especially if you have an uneven oven.  Put back into the oven if you think they need a bit more crispness.  You can do this anytime if they need crisping.

Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Spicy Samphire and Chicken wraps

These wraps and succulent and spicy. The whole dish is made in a single frying pan so it would be good in a campervan or basic kitchen.  Serves two people with moderate appetites.

Wraps - I didn't weigh the flour or measure the water, I just took about about a cup of my new flour mix (1/3 each urid lentil, buckwheat and brown rice flours) and added water until I got a firm but not dry dough.  I rolled out six circles about the size of my frying pan - simply patting out with hands would have done but it is easier to get a thin wrap using a rolling pin.  I cooked these on both sides in a dry pan on a medium heat until they had little brown patches.  Keep them warm and soft in a clean tea towel until needed.

I chicken breast, cut into six strips.  Marinade this for half an hour if possible before cooking.

1 tsp gf soy sauce
2 tbsp  tomato and garlic pasta sauce (or 1 tbsp tomato paste and a tsp of oil if not available).
2 fat cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
fresh ginger, chopped finely - about a cubic cm
1 small chili, finely chopped

Cook the chicken strips on a medium heat in a little oil until browning and cooked through.  Be careful as the moisture in the marinade will mean the fat spits - I wear a long sleeved catering jacket when frying.  My pan was small so I had to do these in two batches.  Set aside on a covered plate to keep warm.

Wash and dry the samphire.  Cook this in the same pan, using all the left over marinade ingredients to coat the samphire.  

Place chicken and samphire on a wrap, roll and enjoy.  You could also add yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream or avocado to add a creamy texture and moderate the spiciness.

Monday, 11 June 2012

new gf flour mix - pizza without corn or tapioca flours

More tests on a corn and tapioca-free flour mix made from a third each or urid lentil, buckwheat and brown rice flours.

Set oven to 175 and place baking tin into oven to get hot.

150g flour (1/3 each urid, buckwheat, rice)
1 tsp baking powder
water to produce damp dough

Mix ingredients together and then shape into circle on a sheet of baking parchment laid on a baking sheet. I just press the mix out to shape using my fingers  Cover with topping as desired.  I use a rich tomato and herb sauce, often with some chilli.  One my side I used sliced avocado (I am lactose intolerant so don't use cheese) grilled peppers..anything that I fancy.  The other side has mozzarella and pepperoni on.  As I am no longer a vegetarian we just have half the pizza each - otherwise make two small ones to solve the same problem.  And yes, sorry, it does have fresh pineapple on too.

Slide the pizza on its baking parchment onto the hot tin.  This process, though a bit awkward, means that the base is well cooked by the time the toppings have cooked and saves that dreary floppy bottom problem.

Cook for about 20 minutes until cheese is melted and crust golden.

The crust behaved well, and was possible to pick up as a slice if you like to eat it by hand.  I thought it a little less crisp than my usual pizza base, but my husband said he slightly preferred it.  A bit of millet would crisp it up if wanted.

Piecrust; New gluten free flour mix - tapioca free

I have been trying my first attempt at a tapioca and corn free gluten-free flour.  The one I am using at the moment is one third each of urid lentil, brown rice and buckwheat.  It makes good pancakes, but they are very easy with almost any flour.  Pastry is more of a challenge, and I wasn't expecting much from this mixture - I thought it might not hold together and it might not be crisp, or it might taste so strongly of the buckwheat that it would affect the flavour of the fruit filling.

I made a tiny amount of pastry to test, just using the scrap of butter I had to hand.  It made enough for two small pastries, made in a cupcake tin.  One was double crusted, the other open.  The filling was some frozen gooseberries, defrosted and mixed with sugar,

30g butter
60g flour mix (1/3 each urid, buckwheat, brown rice)

Cut butter and flour together then add chilled water to make quite a damp dough.  I thought I had added too much water to start with but after a little further mixing the dough became well behaved.  I didn't even leave it to rest before rolling.  I took slightly more care lifting the rolled dough than my usual recipe, but in general it was well behaved.  It kept its shape well in baking and when cooling, not shrinking away from the tin or the joins.

The piecrust was delicious, crisp and light and suitably complemented by  the tart sweet filling.

For those of you not used to English gooseberries who are shocked by the sight of prickles on the fruit in the first little pie - don't worry, they go soft and so aren't noticeable when eating.

Salmon with gluten free pinekernal crust

I looked at several recipes for salmon with a pinekernal crust.  Many included breadcrumbs, some included flour, and some just had smashed pinekernals with added flavourings.  I tried a plain version with no extra flour or breadcrumbs.  It was very simple to make, and produced a juicy crust, slightly chewy next to the salmon and crisp on the toasted edge.

I used a single fillet of frozen wild Alaskan salmon, microwaved for 1.5 minutes so it was about three quarters cooked.  A handful of pinekernals were blitzed in a blender, with the lime zest from about half a lime, some hot and herby pizza oil ( about a teaspoon) and some fresh thyme leaves.  I moulded this with my hands onto one surface of the salmon fillet, having first removed the skin.  It would have been easier perhaps to cook this under a hot grill on a piece of foil, but I just placed it very carefully pinekernal side down in a small non-stick frying pan, and cooked it until I could smell toasty pinekernals.  This completed the cooking the fish needed.

I served this with broccoli and a risotto flavoured with thyme and lime.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Buckwheat and urid lentil flatbread

A very quick and easy flatbread that is soft and flexible even when it cools.  I added whole cumin seed to these when I was rolling them out  to give extra flavour, and served with a variety of curries.

Makes four small flatbreads - sufficient for two people

50g urid lentil flour
50g buckwheat
water to make a firm but pliable dough.

Add water gradually until you get a dough that holds together.
Knead briefly and wrap in cling film until ready to use.
Roll out using plenty of flour to stop sticking and tearing.
Cook on both sides in a hot-medium dry pan until you get small brownish patches.  You will probably get some puffing as they top and bottom separate, though probably not enough to use them as filled 'pockets'.

Wrap in a towel until ready to eat to keep them warm.

(You can see a small crack on the rolled flatbread in the picture with the curry.  I rolled and re-rolled this flatbread to see how pliable this was, and the this was the only cracking.)

Whole Meal muffins

I have been trying out recipes using flour mixes that do not contain tapioca or corn.  These muffins were made with urid lentil flour, buckwheat flour and brown rice flour.  The first two I ground myself, the third I bought as flour.  I also included quinoa.  This was cooked whole and added to the mixture rather than using the flour.  I find quinoa, whilst excellent in terms of being a complete protein, can give foods a slightly acrid taste.  To avoid this the quinoa should be rinsed before use.  If I really need flour I then dry the quinoa in a low oven before grinding.  In this case the nature of the muffin meant that leaving it whole would be fine.  I have found in the past that if I use uncooked whole quinoa in muffins the texture tends to be coarse, with the quinoa staying too hard.  In a  slow fermented batter this would not be a problem.

I added banana, grated carrot, dried fruit, pumpkin and linseeds to the batter as well as egg and a little oil. These muffins are high in protein and would make a good emergency meal if travelling - hence another reason to call them 'Whole Meal muffins'.  You get your protein, fruit and vegetables in one neat package, with no added refined sugar and very little fat.  I use a little oil as it helps the muffin to keep moist if not eaten immediately.

These were a little denser than I would have like. In future I would add some juice or water to make a sloppier batter, which would aid rising, and add another teaspoon of baking powder.

If you want a sweeter muffin just add a little sugar or syrup of your choice.  To check this you can cook a tiny bit of the batter in a frying pan to see what it will be like.

Makes 12 large muffins
Set oven at 175C

150g flour - 1/3 urid, 1/3 buckwheat, 1/3 brown rice
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas mashed (2 small - 165g)
1 large carrot, grated (100g)
20g linseeds
30g pumpkin seeds
80g cranberries
80g blueberries (or other dried fruit)
50g sunflower oil

20g pumpkin seeds
10g agave or other sweet syrup

Whisk dry ingredients together

Mix all the remaining ingredients except the optional topping together

Mix wet and dry ingredients together and put in muffin cases.

Put a few sticky pumpkin seeds on top of each muffin.  This gives a crisp burst of sweetness on each muffin.

Bake at 175C for 25 minutes

Freeze when cool and use as needed. I find 20secs in a microwave is adequate to defrost them, or pack in your lunch box frozen where they will keep everything else chilled as they defrost.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

chicken curry - two gf convenience meals

I wrenched my foot badly a couple of weeks ago and haven't been able to go grocery shopping.  I think we had got down to one lemon and some frozen peas.   I walked to the local garage which has a small Spar convenience store attached (only just made it home!) to test the progress of my foot.  They only had lettuce and tomatoes in the vegetable section, so I just bought eggs (essential for our morning pancakes) and two chicken curry meals.

One was frozen, by Birds Eye, and the other was in the chilled section, by Spar.  Both were gluten free, both contained milk.  I heated both for supper, and we set out to compare them.

The Birds Eye curry was very cheap, only £1.50.  The rice was yellow and firm, with little flavour.  The curry had the chicken peices added after the sauce was cooked.  The flavour was so uninspiring we ate enough to taste it but didn't finish the pack.

The Spar curry cost £3.50.  It was much better. The rice had whole spices visible, and was a better texture.  The curry had that seperated-out oil that I would expect in a curry I made myself.  The flavour was good, the texture and appearance more appetising, and the chicken seemed to have been cooked in the sauce.

I wouldn't normally buy this kind of food, but for a meal in a hurry the Spar curry was acceptable.  The Birds Eye one was really very poor.

Both of these are gluten free.  They both contain milk.  I am very lactose intolerant.  I didn't take any lactase with these and did have a little colic but nothing unmanageable.  I had no gluten reaction.

Samphire tempura with fish and spicy sauce

Spotted some samphire in the supermarket so bought some on a whim.  Looked at a few recipes, and was tempted by some aspects of this recipe.  It is based around crab and has a many step recipe, but I took a few key aspects from it to make a quick and easy supper.

I made a chili sauce by frying two fat cloves of garlic with some chopped chili and chopped rosemary, stirred in a heaped teaspoon of caramelised onion marmalade I had been given for a present, the zest and juice of a left over quarter of a lemon,  half a teaspoon of ketchup and some water.  I cooked this just to bring all the flavours together and blitzed it smooth.

Tempura samphire
700g samphire, rinsed
50g rice flour
cold water

Mix the rice flour and cold water together together to make a slurry - the recipe says the consistency of double cream.  I just made it thick enough that it lightly coated the samphire.

I used a small heavy-bottomed stainless steel pan to cook these in rather than getting my deep fryer out for such a small quantity of food.  I put about 1cm of vegetable oil in the pan and heated until a blob of batter dropped in fizzed and cooked quickly but didn't burn.

Put a few pieces of samphire into the batter, then lift each one out and place carefully in the hot oil.  Tongs make this task easy. I found they worked best when each strand was put in separately - it cooked quicker, looked nicer and made a more crunchy cooked product.  Take the samphire out of the oil when the batter begins to go golden.  Place on kitchen paper to drain.  Repeat until all the samphire is cooked.  I recommend wearing a long sleeved garment to protect your arms as the oil will spit when you put the wet samphire in.

I served this with fish (salmon and haddock depending on preference) which only took 3 minutes in the microwave each from frozen, baked potato, sliced tomato and the chili sauce.

Quick and easy gf breakfast pancakes

Trying out a new flour mix that doesn't contain any tapioca or cornmeal.  Every morning we have pancakes as we find them more sustaining than any breakfast cereal, and they became our standard breakfast when we were travelling in the campervan.

This batch of flour was made with 150g urid lentil flour, 75g buckwheat flour, 75g brown rice flour.

Pancake Ingredients
100 g flour
3/4 tsp of baking powder (very fluffy pancakes, could reduce this)
2 eggs
100 ml rice milk

Mix all ingredients together.  Whisk thoroughly to remove lumps.

Cook in a non-stick pan on a medium heat.  I use a spray oil once every few pancakes to make sure nothing sticks but it isn't essential.

Pour batter into the pan to make a pancake smaller than the pan.  This makes it easier to turn them.  You have the right temperature when the top of the pancake has set into bubbles and the bottom is golden brown.  If you have the temperature too high the bottom will burn before the top has set.  This doesn't matter much - you will just have a messier pancake and it won't have those little channels for the syrup or whatever topping you are using to run into the pancake.  These pancakes are a bit like crumpets - if you made the batter thicker you could make a crumpet style pancake.

These pancakes keep well - you can eat them immediately or use them throughout the day.  They are very good as a snack with curry paste and lettuce, or if you eat cheese as a mini pizza with melted cheese on top.

They can also be frozen.

Chocolate chip cookies - new flour mix

I am trying a new flour mix - not using tapioca or cornmeal.  This mix is urid lentil flour, buckwheat and brown rice.  The true test of its versatility will be if I can make good pastry, but to start with I have made pancakes (as we have these for breakfast every day) and cookies for a writing group my husband goes to.

I have started trying out recipes without tapioca as my step-daughter seems to be unable to tolerate tapioca (she isn't gf).  I know some people can't tolerate corn either, and many gf goods have both of these in.  So, here is an attempt to make a flour with ingredients I can grind at home if I want to, which increases my chances of getting a gf flour as often flours are milled in factories which handle wheat.

This recipe is made with a flour made from 150g urid, 75g buckwheat and 75g brown rice flour.  It produces quite a sticky batter so washing up takes a bit more effort.  It is best to rinse with cold water before the batter has had a chance to set.

Chocolate chip cookies
100g flour plus
1/2 tsp baking powder (whisk together)

100g sugar (I used golden caster sugar)
60g butter (room temp - I softened in a low microwave)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg

100g chocolate chips (I used Callebaut Belgian 70.4% dark choc chips)

Set oven to 175C

Cream the sugar and butter together until smooth and light.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until evenly mixed.  Stir in flour and baking powder mix.   The batter will be quite thick, too thick to drop off the spoon but too gooey to roll.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Place on baking sheets - I use silicon sheets or baking parchment to make sure nothing sticks.

I made small cookies with about a heaped teaspoon of mixture.  Leave some room for the cookies to spread as they cook.

This mixture made 26 cookies about 2.5 inches/6cm across when cooked.

Cook until just brown at the edges and golden on the top.

These cookies are light and crisp on the outside and soft and slightly chewy in the centre.  Tapioca in the mix would have given a chewy texture.  They held together very well, with no hint of powderiness.  I need to keep some for a few days to see if the rice in the mix produces a gritty texture as they age.

The contrast of the sweet cookie with the bitter chocolate chips makes a very interesting cookie.  If you want something for kids go for a sweeter chocolate chip.

Excellent cookies, easy to make, easy to eat.