Friday, 23 December 2011

White Bottomed Cupcakes...

... with raw (and healthy) chocolate mousse topping!

Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients:
175g Xylitol
2 medium room temperature eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp glycerine
175g gluten free flour
1.5 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
130ml non-dairy milk
130ml sunflower oil

Preheat the oven to 180oC (GM4) and 12 cupcake cases in the muffin tray.

Combine the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum; sieve and mix together in the large mixing bowl.

In the measuring jug mix together the milk and oil.

Next place the Xylitol, eggs, vanilla and glycerine into the blender and whizz until well mixed.

Then add all mixtures into the large mixing bowl and whisk by hand until well mixed and the large lumps have disappeared.

Fill muffin cases evenly.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

Once baked and well risen remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

Unusual Chocolate Mousse Topping
2 medium sized ripe avocados
75g virgin coconut oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
100g raw cacao powder
Pinch of salt
Agave nectar to taste
(Taken from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall River Cottage Veg Series)

Mix all ingredients thoroughly together and spread over the cakes - this is very rich chocolate mousse! But oh so good :)

Chocolate Cupcakes & Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream

Very cheeky chocolate cakes that are completely vegan!

Ingredients
For cakes
200g Gluten Free Dove's Farm Plain Flour
200g Sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
250ml water

The method
Preheat over 180C (GM4) and put 12 muffin cases in the muffin tray.

Sieve flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

Add oil, vanilla, vinegar, water mix till smooth.

Whisk for a couple of minutes to make sure there is a lot of air in the mixture which will help them rise as there are no eggs in the mixture.

Pour into muffin cases and bake for about 20 minutes or until risen and spongy.

Remove and allow to cool completely.

The buttercream - this is not completely sugar-free but it does use unrefined icing sugar, which is better than the usual highly refined icing sugar.

About 500g vegan or lactofree cream cheese
4-6 tablespoons cocoa powder 

2 teaspoon extract 
10-12 tablespoons unrefined icing sugar (http://www.billingtons.co.uk/home/products/unrefined-range/golden-icing-sugar)


You may want less, so it could be best to make half the amount first and then make some more if its not enough - but it is quite rich!

Blend all the ingredients together until well mixed and smooth and then spread on top of the cakes.

If you want to make them even more luxurious then put 60g of Xylitol Chocolate and 60g of Pecans in the blender and mix until they're broken up into small chunk and spoon to cover the top of each cake. Yum!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sultana & Oat Cookies

Chewy, spongy, tasty wholesome cookies, great for this time of hibernation. A quick and easy recipe... its doesn't take much time or effort and it only needs one mixing bowl and one baking tray.

The Ingredients
1/3 cup of non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
2/3 cup xylitol
1/3 cup sunflower oil 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 ups pure oats
1/2 sultanas

The Method
Preheat the oven to 180c. Line your baking tray with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, with a fork vigorously mix the milk and flaxseed together. Add in the xylitol and oil, continuing to mix until well combined (for about 2 minutes). Then mix in the vanilla. 

Sift in the flour, add the salt and mix in. Then the spices and again mix until evenly spread. Fold in the oats and sultanas.

Spread the mixture out onto the baking tray and with the back of a clean spoon make sure the mix is evenly spread and about a 1.5-2cm thick. 

Then bake for 15-16 minutes or until golden all over (not just at the edges). 

Transfer on the baking parchment to the cooling rack. Once it is cooled it can be sliced up in pieces, as big or small as you want! :)

Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Pineapple Parcels

Gluten Free Pastry (I used Orgran's All purpose pastry mix: http://www.orgran.com/products/159/)
Pineapple pieces (I used fresh pineapple chunks from M&S)

Follow the instruction of the packet to make the pastry - about half this mixture will make about at least 12 parcels.

Tip: if you are trying to make pastry, invest in a rolling pin, it really helps! Might sound obvious, but I don't have one yet and using a glass just isn't the same :)

Note: I needed more water than the instructions suggest but this doesn't mean that the instructions are wrong, just that I'm not very experienced with pastry (not yet).

Once the pastry is rolled and ready, wrap pieces of pineapple in the pastry and cook for 20mins.

Mmmmmm

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Bake & All Is Well Cupcakes

My own cupcake version of the beloved Bakewell Tart.

The Ingredients
175g Xylitol
2 medium room temperature eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp glycerine
175g gluten free flour
1.5 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
130ml non-dairy milk
130ml sunflower oil
St. Dalfour Raspberry Jam

12 cupcakes

The Method

Cupcakes first...
Preheat the oven to 180oC (GM4) and 12 cupcake cases in the muffin tray.

Combine the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum; sieve and mix together in the large mixing bowl.

In the measuring jug mix together the milk and oil.

Next place the Xylitol, eggs, vanilla and glycerine into the blender and whizz until well mixed.

Then add all mixtures into the large mixing bowl and whisk by hand until well mixed and the large lumps have disappeared.

Fill muffin cases with about 2/3 of the mixture needed for each cupcake. Then add a tablespoon of jam to each, then even distribute the rest of the cupcake mixture over the 12 cases.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

Once baked and well risen remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

BUTTERCREAM
125g Organic unsalted butter or a olive / soya alternative
250g Billington's Golden Icing Sugar icing sugar (unrefined icing sugar)
Almond extract
Food colouring
Flaked almonds

Place the butter in a large bowl and mix in the icing sugar gradually with an electric whisk on a slow speed, until well incorporated. Then turn the whisk to a high speed and beat for 2-5 minutes until icing is pale and fluffy.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract and any colour you may want your icing to be.

Place in a piping bag, ideally using a wide nozzle and off you go (but only if the cupcake are now cooled)! Once all the cupcakes for beautiful swirls of buttercream, add the flaked almonds for decoration and extra crunch.  

Buttercream alternatives

Its always nice to have buttercream gracing your cupcakes, but it is usually made with butter and icing sugar (in a ratio of 2:1 icing sugar : butter). If you are avoiding dairy products and sugar, this isn't so great. 

I have been experimenting to find out if there is an alternative particularly to icing sugar that will those who are sugar free to enjoy buttercream. Butter is a lot easier to replace.

ICING SUGAR
Normal icing sugar use refined sugar cane. The alternatively I have tried...
1) Powdered Erythritol has the same consistency as icing sugar and a similar sweetness, but leaves a strange after taste in the mouth and a weird coolness and leaves a taste long after you have eaten it - not the alternative to use for me.
2) Corn Flour with appropriate amounts of flavouring - the taste is ok - it requires 2-3 tablespoons of flavouring (e.g. vanilla, almond) it needs a couple of tablespoons of agave or honey to sweeten it (125g cornflour, 75g butter, 8 tablespoons of non-diary milk). It looks and works like buttercream but it has a floury after texture that stays in the mouth and isn't very pleasant, unfortunately.
3) Billington's Golden Icing Sugar - made from sugar cane but the sugar is not refined works exactly like normal icing sugar and is the best option if you really want frosting on your cupcakes.
4) Stevia powder - I have tried this yet, but when I have I will update the post. 

BUTTER
1) Organic unsalted butter
2) Soya spread
3) Olive spread
4) Sunflower spread

These all work well, but organic butter is the best, if you can have some diary. 

Hope this is helpful, happy baking!

Chocolate and beetroot brownies

Sounds like a strange combination doesn’t it? But beetroot gives the brownies an extra depth of flavour, that is hard to describe, part from saying that it just works! For those who are less adventurous with their food and aren’t sure about having veg in their sweets, just don’t tell them :) let them enjoy the brownies first, hopefully that will convince them.

This recipe has been adapted from the River Cottage Everyday cookbook.

The Ingredients

250g of either unsalted organic butter / olive spread / soya spread - whatever your preference is (mine in organic butter)
250g Xylitol chocolate
3 medium eggs
250g Xylitol
150g gluten free flour (e.g. dove’s farm gf plain flour)
250g beetroot

The Method
First the beetroot needs to be peeled, cleaned and boiled until tender (but not mushy!). Once ready, drain and leave to cool. Once the beetroot is cool to the touch grate it.

Preheat the oven to 180c (GM4).

Grease a shallow baking tin (approx 20 x 25cm) and line with baking parchment.

Cut the butter in cubes, and break up the chocolate into pieces, place both in a oven-proof dish and place in the warming oven for a few minutes. Then give it a stir before putting it back in the oven for a few more minutes, until the butter and chocolate is completely melted.

Keep an eye on the choc/butter melting but meanwhile you can whisk and eggs and Xylitol together until combined in a large bowl. Then beat in the melted chocolate and butter until smooth.

sift the flour and salt over the mixture and gently fold in with a metal spoon. Next fold in the grated beetroot until everything is evenly distributed, but be careful not to over mix.

Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes but no more to keep them moist.

Once baked place on a wire rake to cool before cutting it into pieces. Yum!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Cupcake course review

Just wanted to tell you about a Cupcake workshop that I recently went on, run by The Gourmet Cupcake Company. It was an excellent day, which went by like a flash. The class lasted from 10-4 so you get plenty of time for cupcake and decoration fun.

There were only 6 people in the class, so small enough to chat to classmates but also get any support you might need. And you are given recipe sheets to take away with you, for both the cupcake and the icing. Plus a certificate to say you have completed the course :)

The class starts with a group effort to make 12 vanilla cupcakes each, you get a choice wide choice of cupcake case colours. You must choose wisely as you want your icing and decorations to match!

I had several revelations while making the cupcakes, through being shown techniques to making batches of uniform! Including using digital scales - so handy that I bought myself a set after class to weigh everything and makes the recipe much more precise. We also weighed the amount of mixture put into each cupcake case - its all about consistency, which I hadn't worried about until now.

Next we  discovered how to make decorations with sugar florist paste, how to colour the paste, how to cut shapes out. We were shown how to make lots of different thing, but being a group of women most of us choose pretty flowers and butterflies for our cupcakes :)

After the lunch break we moved on to making roses with ready to roll icing with a cup of tea and a homemade cupcake - prefect.

Next... the icing on the cake! Two kinds of icing at that. Buttercream, which seems to be everyone's favourite. I choose pale pink buttercream to go with my green cupcake cases and dark pink roses. And poured fondant icing was white to go with my black cupcake cases with yellow stars and daisies.

Altogether an awesome day and I hope my cupcakes will be much better in the future, more practicing required!   

I choose to do the course in Shoreditch as its close to home which makes normal cupcakes, but the course in Chelmsford dietary requirements can be catered for.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Fudgy Chocolate-Oat Cookies

They aren't the prettiest of cookies but they make up for that and then some in taste and texture! 



The Ingredients
Gluten free oats 175g
Rice flour 180g
Ground almonds 30g
Cocoa powder 50g
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon salt
300g xylitol
200ml non-dairy milk
200ml sunflower oil
2 tablespoon flaxseed
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon glycerine
75g cocoa nibs

Makes 24-30

The Method

Preheat oven to 180oC.

Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

In a bowl, mix together the oats, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt.

In another bowl, mix together the xylitol, flax seeds, nondairy milk with electric whisk until smooth. Then add oil, vanilla, almond extract, glycerine and use electric whisk again until well mixed.

Fold in half of the dry mixture into the sugar mixture until well incorporated before mixing in the rest dry mixture. Fold in the chocolate nibs and mix a little more until everything is well incorporated and evenly distributed.

Each cookie is a generous tablespoon full, dropped onto the baking trays a couple of inches apart. Leaving them as mounds of dough gives you the fudginess, flattening the dough will make them crisper. 


 

Bake for 10-12 minutes, let them cool for a few minutes on the baking trays before moving a wire rack.

If kept in a air tight container they will last for about a week, but be warned they are homely and moorish!

This recipe was adapted from 'Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar'.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Cranberry & macadamia flapjacks

So happy to have discovered that I can eat flapjacks - such comfort food! 

The Ingredients
200g unsalted organic butter (or olive oil spread)
200g xylitol
200g honey
400g oats
50g cranberries & macadamia nuts

The Equipment
Large saucepan
The usual spoons
22 inch cake tin
Greaseproof paper

The Method
Preheat the oven 180oC.

Line the cake tin with the greaseproof paper.

Put the butter, xyliltol and honey in saucepan, heat and stir occasionally until the butter melted and the sugar is dissolved. Add the oats, fruit and nuts then mix well.

Transfer oat mix to cake tin, spread evenly, smooth with the back of a clean spoon to a thickness of 2cm.

Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown around the edges and still slightly soft in the middle.

Cool and cut into squares. 



A round flapjack isn't the traditional shape, but I haven't got a square tin yet :)

Saturday, 27 August 2011

The 4 C’s - Cherry Choc Chip Cheesecake

There are a lot of components to a completely homemade cheesecake which is gluten, milk and sugar free. There are recipes that use flour for the base but I have chosen to make a biscuit base, just because I wanted to see if I could make gluten free digestives and it turns out you can! Its best to make the cheesecake in advance its good after 24 hours in the fridge but its at least best after 48 hours in the fridge!


Vegan Cream Cheese
The ingredients 
Firm Silken Tofu 
1 tbsp Oil 
2 tsp Lemon Juice 
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar 
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

The method
Crumble the tofu and add this and all the other cream cheese ingredients into a large bowl and whisk on a slow speed if using an electric whisk and blend until smooth. Its easy to make more depending on how big your cheesecake is going to be. If you make too much you can keep it in an air tight container for 5 days in the fridge.

Homemade Digestives
For 18 Biscuits or a thick base for a 22 inch cheesecake

The ingredients
100g buckwheat flour
100g gluten free oats
1 tablespoon of glycerine
1 tsp baking powder
50g xylitol
100g salted softened butter
2 tablespoons of non-diary milk

The method
Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Place greaseproof paper on a large baking tray.

Grind the oats in a blender until a powdery texture.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Add the butter and mix until crumbly consistency.

Add the milk and mix into a smooth smooth.

Place in the fridge for 15 minutes (any longer and the dough will become too hard).

Spread the dough out evenly over the greaseproof paper on the baking tray.

Bake for 15 minutes.

And now... finally... the cheesecake!

More ingredients!...
- 4-8 heaped tablespoons (depending on the consistency and taste you want) Powdered erythritol is a healthier alternative to icing sugar: http://www.naturallygreen.co.uk/erythritol-500g-powdered-natural-sweetenersugar-replacement-p-975.html
- 4-8 heaped tablespoons sugar and diary free chop chips (basically made of pure cocoa, which means they aren't sweet like milk chocolate and you will have to decide how much to put in depending on taste): I used Naturya Cocoa Nibs (which I got in Holland and Barrett)
- About 3/4 of a jar of St Dalfour Black Cheery Jam
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

The Equipment
The usual forks and spoons
Large mixing bowl
22inch cake tin
Cling film

The Method
Mix the vanilla, powdered erythritol and choc chips with the cream cheese into everything is well incorporated and it has a smooth creamy consistency in a large bowl.

Line the bottom of the cake tin with the digestives (they can be all broken up and then squashed back down), making the cheesecake base.

Spread the jam over the digestive base, try to make an as even layer as possible.

Then spread the cream cheese mix over the top again in an even layer.

Wrap the top of the cake tin in cling film and place in the fridge to chill. If you can make it 48 hours in advance of when you want to eat it, thats definitely when its texture its at its best, as the cheesecake will be nice and firm (and very tasty too)!

Unfortunately it was eaten before I remembered to take a photo.

A word on gluten free porridge oats

I had always assumed that oats weren't gluten free and I would have to avoid them, but its turns out pure wholegrain oats are gluten free! Oat products that aren't gluten free have been contaminated by other gluten grains. For example, if the oats aren't grown separate but with other grains or if they aren't milled separately to other grains. This is great stuff to know and I helpfully found this info on the back of a packet of Nairn's gluten free porridge oats, I had wondered when I first seen gluten free porridge oats I wondered if they were genetically modified :)

The good news is that the number of companies producing gluten free oats is increasing, I have found that both Tesco's and Sainsbury's have their own brands both sold in the free-form sections. Nairn's gluten free porridge oats which can be found in health food shops.

So I have been taking advantage and making lots of delicious things with oats - expect several oat filled recipes!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Slightly Spicy Double Choc Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so moist and yummy even if I do say so myself :) best eaten still warm when the chocolate is still gooey (satisfied sigh). A pinch of mixed spice give the cupcakes a slightly different twist on the well loved chocolate tradition.

The Ingredients
100g gluten free flour - in this case I used 50g buckwheat flour and 50g rice flour
25g cocoa powder (must be sugar free, always best to check the label its a good habit to get into, you can't assume what food does/doesn't contain, especially in the case of sugar)
140g Xylitol
2 medium eggs at room temperature
130ml sunflower oil
130ml milk (lacto-free or unsweetened soya)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon glycerine
2 tablespoons milled or ground flaxseed 
100g Plain Xylitol Chocolate broken up into squares

Makes 12 cupcakes

The Equipment
Muffin cases
Muffin tray
Large mixing bowl
Medium mixing bowl
Measuring jug
Handheld electric whisk
Sieve
Weighing scales
Many spoons
Cooling rack

The Method
Pre heat the oven to 175C add muffin cases to the muffin tray.

Sift and mix together the dry ingredients: Flaxseed, cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, mixed spice, xanthan gum, salt (but don't include the Xylitol in this mix).

In a measuring jug with the electric whisk (on medium-high speed) mix together the Xylitol, eggs, vanilla extract and glycerine.

In another mixing bowl with the electric whisk mix together the oil and milk until it is nice a thick.

Pour in the Xylitol mixture in the oil/milk mixture and whizz together with the electric whisk.

Then add this mixture of the dry ingredients, again using the electric whisk, on a low speed at first and getting faster as all the ingredients begin to combine - you will end up with a fairly thick cake mixture.

Half fill the muffin cases with the cake mixture and then add a square of the Xylitol chocolate.

And then add the rest of the cake mixture evenly to all the muffin cases.

Once all the mixture as been used up add another square of the Xylitol chocolate on top of the mixture.


Bake for 15-20 minutes or until well risen.

Once baked remove from the muffin tray and allow to cool slightly on a cooling rack, make sure they chocolate is cool enough not to burn your mouth before devouring! (But can also be keep for up to a week in a air tight container).

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Zingy Orange Agave Choc Chip Cookies

Its amazing how the zest of one orange can give you so much flavour and zing in these doughy, chewy cookies.

The Ingredients
150ml agave syrup
150ml sunflower oil
2 tablespoons soya milk or lactofree milk to be soya free
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
200g rice flour
140g buckwheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
100g of xylitol chocolate (broken up in the blender to make Choc Chips)

Makes 20 cookies

The Method
Pre-heat oven to 165oC. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Whisk together the agave syrup, oil, soya milk, flax seeds, vanilla and orange zest until well mixed and smooth.

Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into a lump free dough and add in the choc chips.

Drop heaped tablespoons of dough onto the baking trays, use the bake of a clean tablespoon to flatten and space into cookie like structures :)

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Once removed from the oven let them cool a little on the baking trays before putting them on a wire rack to cool completely.

The good thing about using the greaseproof paper is its easy to peel the cookies off while they are still warm.

They will last for about a week in an airtight container.



Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

Friday, 15 July 2011

Toast Coconut Chocolate Cookies

Vegan chewy yummy coconut cookies dipped in chocolate... mmmmmmm :)

The Ingredient 
140g dessicated coconut
80g coconut oil at room temperature
150g xylitol 
120ml soya milk at room temperature
175g gluten free flour 
100g xylitol chocolate
1 tablespoon of ground or milled flaxseed
1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt


The Instructions
Preheat oven to 180oC and line two baking tray with greaseproof paper.


Pour the dessicated coconut into a non-stick frying pan and toast over a low-medium heat. Stir on occasion, but definitely keep an eye on it, you want it to be golden-brown but it can quickly burn. 


In a large mixing bowl add the coconut oil, xylitol, soya milk, flaxseed and vanilla extract and blend until smooth. 


Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and mix into a thick batter. 


Once the batter is mixed scoop up the mixture into a tablespoon and drop onto the greaseproof paper with the back of the spoon you can pat the batter into a cookie shape - it may be better to use another clean spoon as they soon get sticky.


Bake for 15-20 minutes, once done take out the oven and leave them for a few minutes on the baking trays. Then move them to a cooling rake to let them cool completely.


Break up the chocolate and place into a heatproof bowl above a gently simmering saucepan of water and allow it to melt. Once its all completely melted dip the cookies into the chocolate. I dipped the bottom (non-glossy side) of the cookies. That might sound strange but once you have baked them you will see what I mean. The top of the cookies do look kind of shiny. Place the cookies on a plate to cool. 

Warning: Be careful not to burn yourself on the chocolate and try not to waste any its a precious commodity! 

You can either leave the cookies out in the open-air to cool or if you are in a rush then put them in a fridge. 







Sunday, 26 June 2011

Vegan Custard Tarts

I am being brave and expanding by repertoire and making pastry for the first time, ever! And I have decided its going a lot of practice to get a really good pastry, which  means a lot more tarts - shame.

Preheat oven to 200c / GM6.

Base:
Gluten Dairy Sugar Free Short Bread Pastry

I used Orgran's All purpose pastry mix: http://www.orgran.com/products/159/

Custard:
2 cups of unsweetened soya milk
3/4 cups of xylitol
2 tbsp arrowroot
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of cinnamon

Some nutmeg
Some honey

The Method:

Follow the instruction of the packet to make the pastry - about half this mixture will make 4 tarts, I used 12cm diameter silicon moulds.

Tip: if you are trying to make pastry, invest in a rolling pin, it really helps! Might sound obvious, but I don't have one yet and using a glass just isn't the same :)

Note: I needed more water than the instructions suggest but this doesn't mean that the instructions are wrong, just that my first time of instruction reading was quiet right.

So once the pastry is rolled out place and shape into the moulds and put on a baking tray and place in them in the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, get started with the custard.

Mix 1/4 cup of soya milk with the arrowroot (in a measuring jug) and set aside.

Put the rest of the soya milk in a saucepan and bring to boil on a low-medium heat, then remove immediately.

Add the xylitol to the arrowroot mixture and mix well. Once mixed add to the heated soya milk.

Return to the heat and stir on a low heat, add the vanilla and cinnamon, stir until thick.

Take the pastry out of the oven, press down with a spoon on the pastry and then pour some honey on each of the bases before pouring the custard. Then sprinkle the nutmeg on top of the custard and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Once they have been baked, remove from oven and allow them to cool and set. This can be done on a kitchen surface or in the fridge, but I would let them cool a while before placing them in the fridge.

You can make these in muffin cases to get a deeper fill of custard, but it may take longer to 

set. 

I'm pleased with my first attempt at tarts, its particularly lovely when you bite into the tart and the honey oozes out, mmmm. 
 





Photo to come soon...

I am looking forward to practicing making pastry, particularly puff pastry... watch this space!

Monday, 20 June 2011

More quick sweet treats

With the weather improving (sort of) and everyone wanting to spend more time outside, of course, that means less time inside baking - I've got to get the balance right and make time for both! 

Quick Treat No. 1
This is the first thing I made after I was told that I needed a sugar free diet, as well as a gluten and diary free diet - which was instantly depressing, but once I knew it was easy to make something that was naturally sweet without refined sugar, I was much happier. 

Simply mix together Plain Soya Yoghurt, Chopped or Flaked Almonds, Dessicated Coconut to make a quick, easy and lovely treat. To make it a little (or a lot) sweeter depending on the size of your sweet-tooth, just add a natural sweetener like Maple Syrup, Agave Syrup or Honey.

Of course, summer also means fresh fruit! And that equals fruit salad. Chopping and mixing a whole bunch of fruit together is easy. It just depends on what fruit you like. From what I understand; berries, cherries and tropical fruit is generally easier to digest. 

Eating fresh fruit is also better than eating dried fruit or fruit juice, as they have a higher sugar content. Fruit is also best eaten on an empty stomach. Cooked fresh fruit is also easier to digest than uncooked fruit.

Quick Treat No. 2
As a warm, creamy alternative to a fruit salad, warm some raspberries (organic if possible) in a saucepan, as they warm the juice will start to come out. After a couple of minutes and some soya cream (which is an alternative to single cream) and continue to warm and mix them together for another minute or two, making a lovely dark pink colour. Once you have transferred this to a bowl add a little more soya cream, which is a nice constant in both temperature and colour. With fresh, in-season, organic raspberries, no other sweeteners are required! Its gorgeous just as it is :-)

Of course the muffins and cookies will be back soon and some new experimentation in tarts! Looking forward to it...

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Quick & Easy Coconut Chocolate Cookies

Two of my favourite ingredients chocolate and coconut! The nice thing about these cookies is the coconut gives a great chewy texture to the spongy cookie, not forgetting the great taste, of course!

The Ingredients
125g unsalted organic butter or soya / olive spread
175g xylitol
1 medium egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g gluten free plain flour
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
Pinch of salt
75g xylitol chocolate
Couple of handfuls of shredded coconut

The Equipment
Assortment of forks and knives
Greaseproof paper
Baking tray
Sieve
Blender
Cookie cutter
Large mixing bowl
Measuring jug
Saucepan

The Method
Preheat oven to 180oC. Place greaseproof paper on a baking tray.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.

Chop chocolate into small chunks (this can be done in the blender). And then add the chocolate and the coconut in the flour and mix until evenly dispersed.

Put the xylitol, egg and vanilla into a measuring jug and mix well.

Gently melt the butter, once melted completely, add to the xylitol/egg/vanilla mixture and stir thoroughly.

Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well and evenly combined. The result is a pretty runny mixture. 

Pour the cookie mixture all in one 'lump' onto the baking tray. Spread the mixture evenly across the baking tray, to be baked 'tray-bake' style. 

Once ready place into the oven for 15 minutes. 


Once out of the oven and cool enough to handle its to time employ an exciting piece of equipment - the cookie cutter. This is the first time that I have had cookies that are actually round!

The great thing about using a cookie cutter is you get a bunch of presentable cookies but you also get a whole heap of broken bits. 


The broken bits can be easily nibbled at in secret and you can hardly tell the supply has been depleted! :-)  

Sunday, 5 June 2011

ChocChip-JammyDodger Muffins

Perhaps the name of these muffins isn't quite accurate, their nothing like Jammy Dodgers (I don't even like dodger biscuits), but they do have jam in the middle of them, which is a lovely addition. I don't know why I haven't put jam inside cakes before.

The Ingredients
175g Xylitol
2 eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp glycerine
175g gluten free flour
1.5 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
130ml unsweetened soya milk
130ml sunflower oil
75g Xylitol plain chocolate
Sugarless Jam (in this recipe I used St Dalfour Raspberry Jam)

Makes 6 large miffins or 12 cupcakes

The Equipment
The usual spoons and forks
Weighing scales
Large mixing bowl
Sieve
Measuring jug
Blender
Muffin cases
Muffin tray

The Method
Preheat the oven to 180oC (GM4) and the muffin cases in the muffin tray.

To make your own chocolate chips, break up the chocolate into squares a whizz them up in the blender - its a noisy process at first, but infinitely quicker and easier than chopping up a chocolate bar by hand - I say this from experience. 


Combine the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum; sieve and mix together in the large mixing bowl.

In the measuring jug mix together the soya milk and oil.

Next place the Xylitol, eggs, vanilla and glycerine into the blender with the broken up chocolate and whizz again until well mixed.

Then add all mixtures into the large mixing bowl and whisk by hand until well mixed and the large lumps have disappeared.

Half fill muffin cases with the choc-chip cake mixture.

Then add about teaspoons worth of jam into the middle the mixture. A heaped teaspoon is enough if you are making cupcakes, you may need a little more if making muffins.

And then place the rest of the mixture in the muffin case covering the jam.

Once the mixture is evenly distributed in the muffin cases, place the muffin tray in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Once baked and well risen remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

These muffins are good to eat warm or cold :) If eating warm, just leave to cool long enough so you don't burn your tongue on hot jam!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Blueberry Muffin Surprise

The Ingredients
175g Xylitol
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp glycerine
175g gluten free flour
1.5 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
130ml unsweetened soya milk
130ml sunflower oil
50g Xylitol plain chocolate
Half a punnet of blueberries

Makes 6 large miffins or 12 cupcakes

The Equipment
The usual spoons and forks
Weighing scales
Large mixing bowl
Sieve
Measuring jug
Blender
Muffin cases
Muffin tray

The Method
Preheat the oven to 180oC (GM4) and 6 muffin cases in the muffin tray.

Break up the chocolate into squares

Combine the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum; sieve and mix together in the large mixing bowl.

In the measuring jug mix together the soya milk and oil.

Next place the Xylitol, eggs, vanilla and glycerine into the blender and whizz until well mixed.

Then add all mixtures into the large mixing bowl and whisk by hand until well mixed and the large lumps have disappeared.

Add the fresh blueberries and mix slow until evenly spread throughout the cake mixture.

Half fill muffin cases with the blueberry cake mixture.

Then add two squares of chocolate into the middle the mixture (this is the surprise bit!).

And then place the rest of the mixture in the muffin case covering the chocolate.

Once the mixture is evenly distributed in the muffin cases, place the muffin tray in the oven for about 25 minutes.

Once baked and well risen remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

These muffins are good to eat while still warm and the chocolate is a gooey surprise, but just as good to each when completely cool and the chocolate has become solid again - giving the middle of the muffin an unexpected texture and crunch :)

Saturday, 28 May 2011

No time to bake?

I thought that after a long holiday hiatus, the most appropriate post would be about having no time to bake!

I recent experimenting as given fruit to a new favourite snack which is delicious and takes no time at all to make.

Quick Snack

Nut-Jam Rice Cakes
The Ingredients:
(Unsalted) Rice Cakes
Sugarless Jam
Vegan Cream Cheese
Peanut butter

The Method:
Just spread a layer of each on the rice cake - the combination is amazing! I personal favourite is cream cheese, peanut butter, then jam.

There are some sugarless jams out there at are very tasty. Recently I have been buying St Dalfour from Wholefood Market: the raspberry jam is particularly good.

I have learnt to always read the label and have found some very nice peanut butters that have no added sugar, two brands I have found are Whole Earth (my favourite) and Biona.

As for the cream cheese, a while ago I made my own, which is pretty easy to do and the recipe can be found on the mothers day cupcake post, minus the sugar, of course :) Or the Lactofree Vegan Cream Cheese is exactly the same as normal cream cheese, although it probably has sugar in it.

Where To Buy Cake
In london so far I have found two bakeries that lovingly produce and sell fresh gluten, dairy and sugar free cakes.

Ruby Tuesdays Bakery @ Greenwich Maret: try the banana & choc chip or chocolate and fresh fruit loafs.

The Happy Kitchen @ The Bakery in Arch 402 in London Fields - I can vouch for the Raspberry Bakewell Muffins - soooo good. If these are anything to go by, it is indeed a happy kitchen!

Dependings on where you are sometimes cakes and other yummy gluten, diary and sugar free products can be found in The Wholefood Market or Planet Orangic. It is my experience that smaller chains and independent shop/fooderies are better at providing for those of us on restricted diets compared with the major supermarkets. And taking your business to these independent places is no bad thing!

I will be back with my own recipes next week... :)

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Coconut Goodness

Redressing the cookie - cake balance of the recipes I have posted so far! :)

Makes 12 cupcakes or 6 muffins

The Ingredients

180g Xylitol
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Glycerine
175g Gluten Free Flour
1 1/2 tsp of GF Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
130ml Sunflower Oil
130ml Unsweetened Soya Milk

Few handfuls of shredded coconut

The Equipment
The usual: forks & spoons

Scales
Blender
Measuring jug
Large mixing bowl
Cooling rake

The Method
Preheat oven 180oC/GM 4 & place cases in the muffin baking tray.

Place Xylitol, eggs, vanilla and glycerine into blender and whisk for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile combine sifted flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and mix well.

Next mix oil and milk in a measuring jug.

Stir all three mixtures together in the large bowl, mix until there are no lumps left.

Now throw in a few handfuls of shredded coconut and mix until evenly spread throughout the mixture.

Divide mixture equally into the cupcake or muffin cases.

If you're making 12 cupcakes, bake for 15 - 20 minutes (or until well risen).

If you're making 6 muffins, bake for 20-25 minutes.

Once they are baked remove from the baking tray and allow to cool on a cooling rake.

Some of the coconut inside the cakes will go gooey and its absolutely lovely!

You can keep these for about 5 days in an air tight contain in the fridge.