Monday, 21 November 2016

Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins

Feel like I'm cheating a bit posting a variation of someone else's free from recipe, but after Laurna posted this recipe (useful way to sneak in avocado in her version too!) on Twitter recently, it's been a useful emergency muffin recipe. 

I'm in London most of this week on a course, and trying to prepare some easy meals and snacks. I had 2 overripe bananas in the fruit bowl, so rather than coming home to 2 rotten bananas in the fruit bowl, I whipped up another batch of these. 

2 Ripe Bananas
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup milk substitute
100ml pot fruit puree
1tsp Baking Powder
1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1tsp cinnamon
1/4cup Caster Sugar
1tsp vinegar
Dairy & Soya Free chocolate chips/buttons or chunks (I used about 40g cut into chunks for these)
You can add additional chopped fruit too.

Add bananas (broken into pieces), oil, milk substitute and fruit puree to a bowl.

Blend until smooth (or just mash the banana).

Add all the other ingredients and mix well.

Put into muffin cases (about 10), or a greased muffin tin.

Bake at 180ºc for 25mins.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Gingernut Biscuits

I love a good spicy ginger biscuit and recently decided to have a go at attempting to create a proper crunchy, crackled, gingernut biscuit. The first attempt was too thick and not crispy enough all the way through. The second was rushed and I didn't have time to take photo's, but thought I had it cracked. Third time lucky, I've simplifies the method, and I'm actually going to try to get it online... Non-wheat free boy (who loves the real thing) declared these 'perfect'!
You can't tell from this photo, but they even have the slight sparkle of sugar crystals on the top.

100g Dairy & Soya Free Spread
100g Dark Muscovado Sugar
2tbsp Honey
1/2tsp Vanilla Paste (or extract)
1tsp-2 Ground Ginger (depending how hot you like them)
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
1ball Stem Ginger (finely grated or chopped) - optional
145g Gluten Free Plain Flour (I used Doves Farm White Bread Flour in this batch as had run out of plain)
1tsp Baking Powder
1/4tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1-2tsp Caster Sugar to sprinkle.

Put muscovado sugar in a bowl (break up with a wooden spoon as the small hard lumps don't always mix in, then you get dark caramelised bits on the biscuits), add the spread and whisk until paler and evenly mixed.
I wouldn't normally separate things into bowls, but my mum phoned
so I couldn't start whisking, but did manage this while I was talking to her.
Add the honey, spices and vanilla and whisk again.
Tip in the rest of the dry ingredients and fold in until well combined.
Place spoonfuls (well spaced out as these will spread) on a lined tray.

Flatten and smooth out to a circular shape with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with the extra caster sugar.
Bake at 180ºC for 12 minutes, then turn the oven down to 160ºC for a further 10 mins. Either leave to cool for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack, or for extra crunchiness, turn oven off and leave to cool in oven.
I meant to half dip these in dark (milk free) chocolate, but they got eaten too quickly...

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Beetroot & Sweet Potato Brownies (Hale & Hearty)

It's been one of those weekends. Poorly big little boy meant none of the things I needed to do got done on Saturday, then Sunday was spent catching up with myself. Still needed a proper pudding for dinner and a treat for packed lunches. Spotted a pack of Hale and Hearty Brownie mix (this does have a may contain milk warning) lurking on a shelf and decided that would save me some time. 

I've never been one for following recipes or instructions on packet mixes. Usually I'd add 100g of roughly chopped roasted hazelnuts and a cup of crumbled frozen raspberries, but as it's a nut free school, that would be no use today. I opted for the hidden veg option instead...

120g Dairy & Soya Free Spread
300g Puree Sweet Potato & Beetroot (I used 1 medium sweet potato and a pack of ready cooked beetroot)
400g Box Hale & Hearty Rich Chocolate Brownie Mix
Blueberries (or other berries) - I think I used about 150g

Prick the sweet potato with a fork. Microwave for 4 minutes (or until soft). Cut in half lengthways, scoop out the middle and put in a bowl.
Roughly chop the beetroot and add to the sweet potato (if you're using fresh beetroot, peel, chop, add a splash of water, cover and microwave until soft).

Blend or mash the vegetables.

Add the dairy and soya free spread and the pack of brownie mix. Beat with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Add half the blueberries (if using).

Pour the mixture into a lined brownie tin and top with remaining blueberries.

Bake at 175ºC for 25minutes until the blueberries just beginning to soften and the top feels spongy.

Leave to cool in the tin (or slowly cut off slithers to try if you're like me and Mini Monster and couldn't wait).

Cut into squares. Will freeze well.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

GBBO - Week4 - Batter

Well, while most of us are still reeling from the news that Great British Bake Off is moving from the BBC, it's important to keep sight of what we're here for. Baking. Specifically free from baking. This week it's batter. Still not sure what my bake off challenge is going to be this week, but if you're new to free from cooking, batter is your friend! Thought I'd just post a couple of old recipes to get you started.

When my first son came up in blisters where he'd touched some eggy bread at 7 months old, it was time to start approaching cooking a bit differently. I've been lucky that the progression through exclusion of egg, milk, soya, wheat and pulses (lentils or any type of bean) has been gradual, allowing me to adapt recipes one step at a time. 

I was delighted to discover pancakes worked just as well without the egg. All I had to do was increase the fluid by 50-60mls per egg. I used egg replacer initially, but since forgetting to add it one day and finding they worked just as well, I stopped bothering. The switch to wheat free was just as easy.

Pancakes are a great thing to start off with if you're not used to baking. There is much less to go wrong than with cake and the possibilities are endless. Basic thick pancakes are so simple, even my 6yo can make them on his own!

Basic Thick (Scotch/American) Pancake
Raspberry Pancakes (has pictures of basic steps not shown in above recipe)

Basic Thin Pancake (scroll down for the wheat free version) 

If you're feeling more adventurous and want to try a less forgiving batter, my Yorkshire pudding recipe is here…

Technically waffles and my baked doughnuts use a batter type mix too... 

Herb Waffles (great for packed lunches)

Basic Thick Pancake (Scotch/American) Batter

There aren't many things you can make with only two ingredients!
Basic Batter with added vanilla paste

I Cup* Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1 Cup Milk Substitute

*size of cup doesn't matter, you just need an equal volume.

Put flour in bowl, make a well in the centre, add the milk substitute and whisk in with a ballon whisk.

Add flavours, if using, and stir in.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan.

Add spoonfuls of batter (or more if making American style ones).

Turn over when you start to see bubbles forming on the top.

Continue to cook until lightly brown and puffed up.

I've attached a few of the ones we've had in the last few months to give you some ideas:

The boys had a competition to see who could come up with the best one…
Blueberry & Lemon (zest) or Apple (grated) & cinnamon. 
 Which would you prefer?
Peach and Chocolate chip (added vanilla, chopped tinned peach and Doves Farm Chocolate Chips)

I made these when we had friends over from New Zealand, half with mashed banana, half without.
The kids had no allergies, but happily guzzled these for second breakfast!
Blueberry pancakes with coconut milk yogurt & toasted pumpkin seeds

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Dampfnudel (steamed buns) - GBBO2016 - Week3

I think this is the 4th Bake Off since I was challenged to create milk, egg, wheat and soya free versions of the technical challenges. The last couple of years, recipes have been few and far between as real life has got in the way. 

For those of you who don't follow me on twitter, I'm off work at the moment following eye surgery. In theory, this should give me more time to bake and to write up some of the 90 odd 'drafts' I have on the site. In practice, my eyes can't focus properly to type and my altered depth of vision makes cooking slower. 

I struggled with precision needed for topping the Jaffa cakes with chocolate on week one and my mum was here to do week two's Viennese Whirls for me. But while the contestants seemed to struggle with bread week, it was finally something, less precise, I could do more easily. The typing up less so, this is my second attempt as I tried doing it on my phone (easier for me to see than laptop), but it doesn't save automatically like my laptop does and I lost it all! 

I've been making bread for as long as I can remember, but since Mini Monster went wheat free too, I found it a struggle as it needed much wetter mix that couldn't be shaped so easily. I have regained my love of bread making over the last year, thanks largely to the discovery of Bakels and Coori Mixes. Both of these produce a 'workable' dough, which means some of our old favourites are producible again at home.

Like me, I suspect last week's Bake Off was the first time most of you had ever heard of Dampfnudel. I had a look at Paul's recipe and decided that for my first attempt I'd use the Coori Puff Pastry Mix that I have found is great for making a free from equivalent of a rich dough, which would usually contain milk, eggs and butter (also, I'd run out of the Bakels white mix, using my last bag to make a chocolate and cherry Couronne the day before).

My next problem was lack of a shallow, heavy based pan with a tight fitting lid. As you'll see from the pictures, I improvised with a glass bowl over a cast iron frying pan…

Not entirely sure if it would even work, I went for a smaller quantity of dough, which made 7 dampfnudel about 8-10cm across. This was enough for 4 of us, but the kids had finished off the plum sauce and custard before we had ours, I'll make the full quantity of those next time! 

This recipe is for double quantity I used (but closer to Paul's amount for 12 in the original recipe). I made this amount of the basic dough, but then split it in two and used half for the next step of the dampfnudel and half for sausage rolls. If you only want to make a small amount, just use half quantities for dough below.

400g Coori Puff Pastry Mix (this is already sweetened, so you don't need the extra sugar)
260mls Milk Substitute (warmed to hand hot)
7g Sachet of Dried Yeast
70g Dairy and Soya Free Spread (I used the hard Stork)
1tsp Vanilla Paste (or extract)
Grated Zest of 1 Unwaxed Lemon
Extra flour for kneading if too sticky (use a basic gluten free plain flour for this as it's cheaper)

Mix yeast with the milk and set aside to foam.

Put flour mix in a bowl (wide enough for you to knead in).

Add yeast mixture to flour and mix with a blunt knife until the dough begins to come together.

Sprinkle with a little extra flour if sticky and use your hands to knead lightly until you have a smooth dough.

Cover and set aside to rise until doubled in size (You can make the plum sauce at this stage).

Flatten dough slightly, then add the vanilla, lemon zest and dairy free spread. Fold over the dough and continue to knead until the added ingredients are well combined and you have a smooth shiny dough (you can use it at this stage, however, I covered mine and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours so I could make them fresh for the boy's dinner).

Divide the dough into 12 (or 7 if using half quantity) and roll into balls. If you made your dough in advance, you will need to knead it again before deciding, to knock out the air.

Poaching Liquid
150mls Milk Substitute
25g Dairy and Soya Free Spread
25g Caster Sugar

Heat the poaching liquid in the pan until sugar dissolved. Remove from heat.

Place the dough balls gently in the warm poaching liquid and leave for 15 minutes until well risen.

Not quite sure if this is what they meant my tight fitting lid...
Return pan to a low heat and cook covered for 25-30 minutes . Remove the lid and cook for a further 5-10minutes until golden and caramelised on the bottoms.

Carefully loosen the bottoms from the pan. Remove dampfnudel and serve with plum and vanilla sauce.

Nice light spongy texture.
Slightly scruffy edges, but the crust was delicious!
Plum Sauce
4 Ripe Plums 
1-2tbsp sugar (I only used one as my kids, but can add more later if too sharp for you)
Juice of an orange (I didn't have one so used a tangerine and half a lemon)
A pinch of ground cinnamon

Cut the plums in half and remove the stones. Chop into small pieces.

Add to a small pan with all the juice and sugar and cook gently until sugar dissolved.

Increase the heat and boil for 10 minutes until thickened and plum pieces soft.

Add the cinnamon and blend until smooth.

Vanilla Sauce
1/2 tbsp Custard Powder (gives a slight, but not too yellow colour)
1tbsp Cornflour
1tbsp Caster Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Paste or extract
300mls Milk Substitute
100mls Dairy and Soya Free Cream 

Follow instructions for custard here. This is supposed to be a thinner pouring consistency, if you want something thicker, just increase the amount of cornflour used.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Viennese Whirls (pipe-able biscuits)

I'm going to struggle more than usual with this year's Great British Bake Off Free From Technical Challenge. For those of you who don't know, I have recently had surgery on my eye. Currently struggle with altered depth of focus, blurriness and double vision. Have been able to manage phone screen a few inches from my face, but laptop is more of a struggle, so forgive any weird spellings or oddness. 

I lucked out with this week's technical challenge as Viennese Fingers was one of the dozens of recipes I already had in draft form. Thought it was about time to post it! I don't like the traditional buttercream and jam filling, so went for an orange biscuit with chocolate filling this time. Mary's Original recipe is here. You could probably just do a straight swap to dairy free margarine and gluten free flour.

My recipe made 6 filled biscuits (plus 6 straight ones with the extra mix), just double quantities if you want to make 12.

120g Dairy & Soya Free Margarine (works best with hard one like Stork or Trex)
40g Icing Sugar (I used 25g orange flavoured icing sugar plus 15g icing sugar)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste (or extract)
20g Corn Flour (or Custard Powder if you want yellow colour, useful if using Trex)
120g Gluten Free Plain Flour (I used Doves Farm White Bread Flour) 
10g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour

120g Dairy & Soya Free Spread
60g Icing Sugar (or 45g Icing Sugar plus 15g Cocoa Powder)

Whisk together the margarine, icing sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Whisk in the flours until well combined and smooth.

Spoon mixture into a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle.

Pipe 12 swirls into a tray lined with greaseproof paper.

Bake for 15-18 minutes at 190ºC (170ºC if fan oven).

Transfer to rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the buttercream by whisking the dairy free spread and icing sugar (and cocoa if making chocolate filling).

Spoon (or pipe) the filling onto half the biscuits, then top with the plain ones.

As an alternative, pipe straight biscuits (about 8cm long) and dip one end in melted dairy free chocolate.