Thursday 3 September 2015

Gluten & Dairy Free Chocolate & Coconut Madeleines

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate & Coconut Madeleine's

Having recently been sent a tub of Food Thoughts Fair-trade Cocoa to try, I decided to put it to good use to coincide with a Glutafin Demo I’m doing in Cambridge this month.

Those who demo will know that you need to demo something that is interesting and relatively quick to do, so I decided on the Madeleine's as they are not something the Coeliac’s or the Gluten Intolerant or Free-from Life-stylers can easily pick up in the shops.

So a little about the cocoa, the first thing that struck me was the difference in colour compared to my usual brand of cocoa, this is all down to the process in making it or in Food Thoughts case the lack of it. The Food thoughts Cocoa is not “Dutch Processed” or treated with Acidity Regulator (Potassium Carbonate). This means that the colour is more subtle with hues of reddy brown, rather than a really dark almost black/brown colour. Its pH is also different…For more info on the Dutch method, I suggest you Google it. I walked away from Food Science…..

The second difference was the smell, it seems to me to be a lot more rounded in smell compared to my usual brand. When using it I also noted it blended in really well.  What also appeals to me is that its Gluten free, I’m mindful of ingredients and generally use GF ingredients where possible to ease of storage and of course any cross contamination. Would I buy it and use it again, yes I would.

I’ve also made this recipe Dairy Free as I had some Pure Margarine to use up, for those not Dairy Free, simply substitute with butter.


Makes approx. 24

2 Eggs
100g Caster sugar
80g GF Plain Flour Mix (I used Asda )
20g Food Thoughts Cocoa
25g Desiccated Coconut
¾ tsp. Baking powder
100g Pure DF Margarine, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing


1.      Preheat the oven to 160oC Fan/ Gas 4.  Brush the madeleine tray liberally with melted Margarine.

2.      Sift together the GF Flour, Baking Powder and Cocoa.
3.      Whisk together the eggs and the sugar in a bowl until frothy. Add in the coconut and lightly whisk in. Fold in the GF Flour and the margarine.

4.      Carefully add in around a tablespoon of the mix into the prepared tin to just below the rim.

5.      Bake for approx. 10 minutes, until the mixture fully cooked through. Leave in the tin for a minute or two then transfer the madeleine’s to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Eat or Freeze on the day of baking

I was sent this cocoa to review, all words and thoughts are my own.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Gluten Free Fig, Pineapple and Ginger Chutney

Having recently completed a Home Preserves Course (and passed with a distinction) I wanted to share my top marks recipe with you. My palette is tantalised with a real sweet sour vibe and this just fits the bill. Also by using cider vinegar it makes it Gluten Free. Hope you enjoy it.

Gluten Free Fig, Pineapple & Ginger Chutney
Makes approx. 5-6 x 340g jars

1kg Whizzed up Fresh Pineapple

1kg Cooking Apples ( small diced)

500g White Onions ( small diced)

300g Chopped dried figs*

2" Pieces of Grated Fresh Ginger
100g Grated Stem Ginger

500g light soft brown sugar

600mls Cider Vinegar

Spice Bag: 3 Tsp Mustard Seeds, 3 Tsp Black peppercorns, Cinnamon Stick

*soaked for an hour in 150mls orange juice

Put the spice bag spices in some muslin, tie it up and put it in the preserving pan with all the other ingredients except the sugar.

Slowly bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, when the onions are soft add in the sugar, stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Simmer slowly for 2 ½ - 3 hours, until its thickened and well reduced.

To check its ready, draw a flat edge wooden spoon along the bottom to expose the bottom of the pan, if no thin juices fill the void its ready.

Sterilise your jars & lids by putting them on a tray in a hot oven. Fill the warm jars with the hot chutney (don’t fill them right to the top leave about 1cm void) Place the lids on tightly, label when cold, store for at least 6-8 weeks before eating.


Friday 17 July 2015

Gluten Free Raspberry Frangipane Tart

Gluten Free Frangipane Tartlets

Gluten Free Frangipane Tarts

Well it’s not that often I get to blog a recipe , but as I have been asked quite a few times for this recipe I decided to dig out and dust down the blog.

Frangipane tartlets are really good to demonstrate and have become a firm favourite of mine when I'm off up and down the country, demonstrating Gluten Free Cooking for Glutafin. Having worked so much with the prescription brand flours its given me such an insight as to how fats & liquids behave in gluten free cookery. My private gluten free work encompasses using different flours & starches to make breads & pastry, again one blend of flour will work so differently to another.

 So for ease I have used a flour mix readily available, my private courses will use my own blends of flours......But please feel free to use your own pastry recipe for this

 Gluten Free Frangipane Tartlets
Makes Approx.  2 Small 5” Tartlets or 1 18cm tart

225g Gluten free plain flour ( I used Asda FF for this)
1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
55g Cold soft margarine
55g Trex
25g Caster sugar
1 egg (beaten)
½ tsp. Salt.
2 Tbsp. cold water (approximately)

90g Butter or DF Margarine
90g Caster Sugar
90g Ground Almonds
1 Egg
20g GF plain flour
Small Punnet of Fresh Raspberries
3 Tbsp. Good Quality Raspberry Jam

 Sieve and mix together the Xanthan Gum together with the flour. Add in half of the flour and all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and using a dough scraper combine to a smooth paste. Add the remaining flour and bring the mixture together using a dough scraper, then using your hand brings together into a ball.

Place on a work surface lightly dusted with flour and knead for 1 minute until completely smooth. Flatten and chill for 30 minutes.

Knead the pastry again then roll the pastry out in between 2 pieces of cling film, place the pastry into the tin and trim to a neat edge.

Mix the filling ingredients together, until smooth (except the Jam)
Place a layer of jam in each pastry tartlet, then neatly top with Frangipane, place the Fresh Raspberries into the frangipane

Bake in a preheated oven 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5 oven for 30- 35minutes until golden. Leave to cool, store in an airtight tin.

Please enjoy!!

NB> you will have some pastry left over, simply freeze it. Defrost when needed, knead it well before rolling.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Buttermilk Rolls

I really wanted to share this recipe with you as I have found it to make one of the softest dough's I have made.

Having made some Soda Breads recently I had a carton of buttermilk lurking at the back of my fridge with its Use by Date up, so rather than make the usual batch of Scones I looked for a yeasted dough recipe to make.

A quick Google search led me to Dan Lepards Buttermilk rolls recipe on the Guardian's Food Blog, so I set about making them.

I didn't strictly follow Dan's recipe and as it happens I had some egg yolks that needed using up from some Macaron testing I did on Monday so I replaced the butter in the recipe with the egg yolks. On following the recipe I did note that my mix took a lot longer to 1st prove than what it stared in the recipe, there are always variables in any recipes.

500g Strong White Flour
8g Salt
7g Yeast- I used Dried Fast Active
2 Egg Yolks
250 ml Butter Milk
120 ml Water

1. Mix together the Yeast, 100g of the flour, 50ml of the Butter milk and 50ml of the water, set aside, cover, and leave it alone for 30 minutes. This is your pre-ferment
2. Mix the rest of the flour and salt together in another bowl.
3. Mix the rest of the buttermilk, water and egg yolk together with the pre-ferment and add to the flour, bring it together, cover and leave for 10 minutes. You are looking for quite a wet dough, add a little more water if needed.
4. Knead in the bowl for 10 seconds, cover and leave it alone for 10 - 15 minutes, repeat this 4 times.
5. After 4th time, cover and leave to prove until doubled in size. (mine took 2.5 Hours).
6. Divide into 12 and shape as desired. Cover and leave to prove again, ( I left mine 1 hour).
7. Dust with flour and bake in a pre-heated 200oC oven for +/-15 minutes, (my oven is quite fierce).
I am going to play around with this recipe and make some sweet buns using the buttermilk....

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Les Kouginettes

Having discovered on a recent holiday to Brittany, the delicious sweet & buttery Kougin Amman (Breton Butter Cake). I decided there and then to make these Bretagne delicacies. So on my return armed with a boot full of T45 & T55 flours, beautiful Bretagne butter (and of course wine) I set about researching for recipes.

It was then I came across the Les Kouginettes, this is a smaller individual version of the Kougin Amman. Looking at published recipes it became apparent that they were a little reminiscent of our lardy cake. Maybe this was adopted into Brittany during the times when it was under British rule, that however is one for the historians to confirm....

So to make these buttery Sugary, Flaky delights you will need:

235g Strong White Flour
3g Salt
15g Melted Butter
5g Fast Action Yeast/Dried Active Yeast
130g Tepid water
90g Softened Butter
50g Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Mixed Spice

You will need a 6 or 12  hole muffin tin- depending how big you want them,

Oven Temp: 180oC Fan

1. Place your flour, yeast  and salt in a bowl, give it a whisk up to distribute everything.
2. Rub the melted butter in, add the water, bring to a soft dough, cover and leave to sit for 10 minutes.
3. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes until smooth, cover and leave to prove at room temperature for around an hour
4. Roll the dough into a rectangle and spread over two thirds of it half the butter, sugar & spice.
5. Fold as per puff pastry and give half a turn. Its going to be sticky!!
6. Repeat steps 4&5 using the other half of the butter, sugar & spice.
7. Leave the dough to rest for 10  minutes and roll out again to give another half turn, repeat once more.
8. Roll out again to a rectangle, roll up like a sausage roll, divide the sausage up into 6 or 12 equal portions, place in the tins, cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes, brush with milk, sprinkle with a little sugar and bake in your preheated oven for 15 -20 minutes depending on how big you cut them 

Eat warm with a French blend coffee or even an English tea.
Variations can include filling with nutella, or even a lemon curd.. love to hear your feedback.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

A most unexpected Craft Union

A craft union of Beer, Bread, Bakewell and a Treacle Tart

Most people who know me know I am really partial to a pint or two of real ale, Thornbridge Jaipur is far my favourite tipple. I have sank many a pint after a peak district walk in the Devonshire Arms at Beeley. So when I was asked by the organisers of the recent Bakewell Baking Festival if I would do a demo showcasing a Cake or Dessert from Derbyshires Thornbridge Brewery Craft Union Cookbook, I jumped at the chance.

I popped over to Bakewell and had a meeting with Alex the Marketing manager we decided on Treacle Tart using the rich, dark Wild Raven. Never missing an opportunity I also suggested we make some beer bread from one of the ales available on the Festival Weekend to have on the stand at both the demo and the festival.

I came away with a box of Wild Raven IPA and the fabulous hoppy Chiron Ale

The Thornbridge Craft Union Cookbook is based wholly on pairing craft ale with food. Most of us are aware of the red & white wine food pairings but not so much about beer pairing. This book brings it all together, giving you simple guidelines to help you along.
So having read the book from cover to cover, read and noted down some really great recipes I also noticed there were some recipes that had been included by some of our most renowned beer critics and journalists, one in particular Marverine Cole aka Beer Beauty,  @beerbeauty whose adventures I follow on Twitter.
Having chosen Treacle Tart with Alex I then decided on the bread, for me it needed to be a Focaccia. I wanted a real depth of flavour so set about a 24hour focaccia marathon.
It’s a simple recipe. This is scaled down as I made 4 x the mix.

500g Strong white bread flour
400g Thornbridge Chiron Ale
5g Dried Active Yeast
10g Salt

Starting the mix at about lunchtime:

-Mix together the yeast with a little flour and a drop of water and leave to get going (20 mins or so)

-In a large bowl mix together the Flour and Salt

-When the yeast looks like its lively add to the flour mix it in then add the ale. Using a wooden spoon or your hands really beat the mix together it will be a real slack sticky mess. Really get some air in it.

-Pour a bit of olive oil around the bottom of the bowl lifting the dough up slightly with a dough scraper so the oil gets underneath the dough. Cover with a slightly smaller bowl, cling-film or a shower cap and put it somewhere cool until the next morning.

-After all that time your dough will have started to bubble a little like the picture below.
- Start an hourly folding regime for times, using your hands fold the dough making sure that the dough is stretched as you fold, repeat this four times. Your dough will be pillowy and bubbly.
-After the fourth fold leave it to rest for 30 mins then turn it out onto an oiled and ideally parchment lined tray.
-Using your fingers press the dough flat making indents along the way, leave it to come up again for 30 mins, drizzle with olive oil, a little garlic salt & sea salt then bake for around 30 mins in a pre-heated 200oC oven, until golden.
If you ever get the chance to visit Bakewell, remember to pop into the  Thornbridge Brewery Shop and purchase some of the fabulous beers they produce, you could also buy a copy of the craft union book.
I know most of you will not want to make bread out of beer (sacrilege my husband cries) but if you are an avid bread-maker put it on your list of breads to make, but always use a good ale.

I've added a few snaps from the day - me doing the demo and also on the Thornbridge stand with the delightful MD of Thornbridge, Jim Harrison and Bob the bar-man.


 I have taken no payment for this blog- all photographs, comments and words are my own.


Thursday 18 July 2013

Double Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake

At the weekend I catered for around 25 people for my daughters birthday party, as with everything I make, all was homemade including all the desserts. A comment from my youngest niece " this is the best cheesecake dessert I have ever tasted" really prompted me to blog this recipe.
As a rule I really don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I adore fresh raspberries, so when the opportunity came along to make something as light and completely delicious as this, I felt the need to share it. You can use any seasonal soft fruit for this recipe. Its a hybrid recipe from notes I have made over the years for the % needed to make enough to serve 12 people.
Its a non baked recipe that needs an overnight set. It freezes really well, I made and froze it during the week, defrosted and decorated it on the Sunday.

You will need a 20cm spring-form pan or if you are making it to freeze a silicone cake pan.
Serves 12 ( or 6 if you can eat a big portion)

For the base
200g Biscuit crumbs (I used hob nobs)
75g Butter

For the Cheese Topping
300g Good Quality White Chocolate
300ml Double Cream
500g Full Fat Cream Cheese (I used Philly)
200g Fresh Raspberries

For the Decoration
50g Dark Chocolate
200g Fresh Raspberries
Edible Gold Sprinkles (optional)

1. Whizz up your biscuits in a food processor or put in a bag and bash with a rolling pin until you get fine crumbs.
2. . In a pan melt the butter from the base ingredients, add the fine crumbs, mix together.
3. Butter the sides and bottom of the chosen pan you are using, using your fingers and a wooden spoon, gently but firmly press the biscuit base into the bottom of the pan. Pop in the fridge to set.
4. Meanwhile in melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, when its melted remove from the heat.
5. Place the cream cheese in a bowl and give it a light whisk with a hand held mixer.
6. In another bowl whisk up the double cream until light & fluffy.
7. Using a spatula, add the melted chocolate and mix well into the cream cheese, using a hand held mixer give it a good whisk up.
8. Add the whisked up cream to the cheese & chocolate, whisk well together.
9. Gently fold in the raspberries.
10. Pour and smooth the cheese cake mix onto chilled base- (at this stage you can cover & freeze it). or cover and return the pan to the fridge overnight if possible.

To decorate:
1. Remove the pan from the fridge ( if frozen, remove from the pan, defrost safely in the fridge).
2. Remove the cheesecake from the pan
3. Melt some dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
4. Arrange your fresh raspberries on the top of the cheesecake, drizzle with some melted chocolate and sprinkle some edible gold glitter......... served chilled and enjoy..........