Saturday, 23 February 2013

Gluten free bread pudding

Bread pudding is extremely comforting, and has warm fuzzy childhood memories for me. I haven't had it in years, especially when starting to eat gluten free. I wonder now why I waited so long to make it - it turned out to be very easy. It was actually the first bread pudding I had very made, and from what I remember, it works just as well gluten free as gluteny.

Lovely thick bread pudding
As I did with my recent first time frittata, I just googled bread pudding to make the basic ingredients, ratios and cooking time. There are so many recipes out there, I liked the look of Nigella's, Nigel Slater's & BCC Good Food recipes. I didn't have all the suggested ingredients, so I improvised, this is a whatever is in the cupboard type of dessert - kind f anything goes and it will work.

Recipes generally say use stale bread, but I used a defrosted loaf, that had been in the freezer a bit too long and it worked fine.

The Ingredients

300g Gluten Free Bread (I used Genius)
300g dried fruit (I used sultanas)
Instead of 50g of mixed peel, I used 2 Bear Nibbles YoYo Strawberry rolls broken up into small pieces
360ml of lactofree or dairy free milk
1 large egg
84g xylitol
60g melted organic butter or non-dairy spread
1.5 tbsp on mixed spice
2 tbsp of xylitol to spinkle on top of the cake mix

The Method
Preheat the oven to 180C (fan assisted oven).

Tear the bread up, add the mixed spice, all fruit (and peel if using).

Pour over the milk and mix until all the bread has absorbed the milk.

Beat the egg add this and the xylitol mix.

Leave it to sit for 15 minutes.

Add the melted butter and mix until everything is well combined.

Line a 20cm square tin, and pour in the mix.

Once you have leveled the mix, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of xylitol over the top, to add a lovely crunchiness to the top. 

Bake for 1 hour.

Once slightly cooled, cut into squares and enjoy with a cup of tea. This is nice cold but is best warm.
The top goes crunchy with the extra xylitol sprinkled on top

Friday, 15 February 2013

Valentine's dessert - healthy chocolate mousse & raspberries

Well the recipe was healthy until I decided to add marshmallows on top of the dessert, the final touch and it was worth it :)

The recipe is easy and simple, and the parts can be made in advance, I adapted it from this BBC Good Food recipe. My version is free of gluten, refined sugar and diary (and also vegan). 

With the marshmallows (the optional extra) they are still gluten and diary free, but no longer sugar free and vegan. However, they are lovely and you can get them in the post. Don't have to go to a shop? Even better. I got these from Zukr Boutique on Etsy. Double layer Strawberry & Chocolate marshmallows. Yes. 
Artisan Marshmallows

The mousse ingredients
Makes enough for two and a little extra (next day leftovers!)
100g xylitol chocolate (or you can make your own)
200g raspberries 
1.5 tablespoons of honey

The method
Melt the chocolate.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Mix in the yoghurt and honey with a whisk until everything is properly combined.

I did this the day before valentine's day and popped it in a piping bag in the fridge, ready to assemble when required. 

I used defrosted raspberries, so I add the juice as well. 

The raspberries were smart, the mousse is not too sweet - both good things. The flavours of both are strong so the marshmallow flavour got a bit lost. Probably best to eat the rest of them with a nice cup of tea. 
Raspberries & mousse!
 Happy valentine's day + 1.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Leftovers Frittata

I don't like throwing away food. Never have. Forcing myself to finish an entire plate of food, when I'm full isn't a good idea. Although, I have done this in the past. 

So I had one gluten free sausage*, some baked beans** and some homemade potato wedges leftover from a Sunday night. I pondered what I could do with these to make it into Monday lunch and not waste the food. 

Like a bolt of lightening I had a flashback, a week or so before I had been at the Churchill War Rooms. A fascinating place with a rather nice cafe, where I'd had veggie frittata and salad. It did seem a little strange to be underground in a place that hadn't changed since the end of world war 2 and eating frittata and salad (with a cup of tea no less) but there you are, it was the most gluten free friendly thing I could see on the menu. Once I'd seen people order the soup I got food or should I say cup envy as the soup was served in these tin marvels (with glutened up bread):
Soup mugs @ the Churchill War Rooms
These seemed much more in keeping with the age and atmosphere of the place. Anyhoo, I digress. This is a long winded way of saying, I remembered the frittata and thought I'd have a go at making it with my leftovers. 

To get the basics of the recipes and timings, I spent a couple of minutes on the BBC Good Food site / app, this is often my starting point for this kind of thing. 

I chopped up the sausage and wedges, put them in a small enamel dish with the beans. Whisked up two eggs with a splash of milk and poured it over the contents of the enamel dish. Bunged it in the oven at 180c (fan) for about 25 minutes and it was done and looking pie like - which is a good thing in my book.
Leftovers get a new lease of life

I ate this the next day cold, I'm the kind of person that will eat cold whatever I eat hot generally. But, it would have been nice to save the leftovers and make it the next day and eat it freshly baked. 
Inside the frittata

This is the right amount for a lunch for one or can be shared as a light meal with some lovely salad for two. My first frittata and I used up the leftover - double plus good. 

*The Black Farmer Gluten Free Pork Sausages
** Whole Earth Baked Beans

Sunday, 3 February 2013

My plans in chocolate

The 3 ingredient chocolate bar using 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1 tbsp agave - recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie, was excellent! Now that I have followed the recipe properly - I got proper chocolate that tastes good and I know exactly what's in it. I didn't take any photos of the finished product as I keep snapping R2D2's legs off when using the molds - more practice is needed, which means more chocolate!

I'm still looking forward to playing with the recipe to see what variations I like. I am interested in making my own version of the vanilla stevia drops. I don't like the taste and after-taste of stevia, so I figure I'll try to make a xylitol version on the drops (and make the chocolate a little sweeter in turn). My combining a couple of recipes... first to make xylitol powdered sugar. And then use this sugar free powdered sugar to make the drops. Feels like a science experiment :)

The chocolate lollipops have proved popular and I've been making them as gifts. This time for some nut-lovers so in came the whole & chopped pecans (my fav), chopped hazelnuts and salted-roasted pistachios - also very good. For these I used Green & Blacks dark chocolate and milk chocolate.

Pecan pop

Pistachio pops
So more experiments to add to the list are mixing different chocolates in a swirly wirly, making my own peanut butter drops, as well as salted caramel, I'm not ready for yet but perhaps one day, making marshmellows.

Adding to the chocpop repertoire, I'd like to make hot chocolate spoons (either to eat straight off the spoon or actually make hot chocolate out of - if it can make it to the cup). Something like this from A Beautiful Mess:
Hot chocolate spoons

Perhaps it is the year of chocolate. Fine by me.