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.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Cheese and Herb Bread Rolls

Anyone who follows me on twitter will know I'm a big fan of a couple of mixes for bread making (Coori and Bakels). Biscuits and cake can be made with any of the flour blends easily available, but if you've had a go at making bread with wheat flour, you will know that making gluten free bread is a very different story. No kneading required as its almost cake mix like consistency can only be poured into a tin to contain it. In the early days of being wheat free, I had a go at trying to use a thicker workable dough, but just ended up with ugly, cracked, brick like breads (yes, really, I have bad days in the kitchen too!). 

I love that I can get a good workable dough with consistently good results from Coori and Bakels (but both require a little more effort) and finally make some of the things we used to have regularly at home. Have now perfected flatbreads, brioche, cinnamon bun, jam doughnut, sausage rolls, tarte tatin recipes to name but a few...

The first time I used the Bakels Multiseed mix (after the Allergy Show in London in 2015), I had to double check the ingredients as it was not only 'workable' like a wheat containing dough, but also smelt and looked like a malted wheat loaf when it came out of the oven! Of course, it was fine, they just have better food scientists than me and access to ingredients that improve the consistency of the dough…

The other problem I have is that as a Registered Dietitian, I'm not supposed to promote specific brands. This is even more frustrating when doing free from baking as some of the flour blends need more or less liquid to get the same results in a recipe. I've resigned myself to actually saying which flour I used now on the basis that I name several throughout the recipes, so not promoting a specific one on the site. So here goes…

I don't have anything as fancy as a stand mixer, I've tried using my electric hand whisk, but on balance, I've gone back to good old fashioned mixing by hand.

300g Bakes Multi Seed Bread Mix
270mls Milk Substitute (if you use a fortified one, it will add 324mg calcium to your loaf, or 54mg/roll)
1tsp dried yeast
100g Violife Original Cheese* (Grated)
2tbsp Chopped fresh Herbs (sage and rosemary from the garden) or 2tsp dried 
Additional wheat fee flour for kneading (I used Doves Farm white bread flour, but any wheat free (not self raising) flour would do)

Warm milk substitute to 'hand hot'. Sprinkle on the yeast, stir and set aside to foam up (even if you're using instant dried yeast).

Put flour, grated cheese and herbs in a large bowl. Mix together with a blunt knife.

Pour in the milk and yeast mixture.

Stir with the blunt knife until it begins to come together.

Sprinkle on a little extra flour and bring it to a ball with your hand. Knead lightly until you have a smooth ball of dough (you may need to keep adding a little extra flour if your hand get too sticky, but don't be tempted to add too much).

Cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place to rise (I think I left mine for about 45 mins, won't quite double in size like wheat bread, but when you press it with your fingers you will see it sink back down).

Sprinkle with a little more flour and knead lightly again. Shape into 6 rolls (or a loaf) and put on a floured tray. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise again.

Bake at 220ºC for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped underneath.

Try to leave to cool before eating…

*Violife Original (as you may have found) does not melt with direct heat (like on a pizza), but melts well in toasties, sauces etc, that's why you can see the spots of it on the outside of the rolls where it poked through the dough, the cheese melted will on the inside of the rolls. You could try other dairy and soya free cheeses, but as this is available in most of the main Supermarkets now, it made sense to use as easily accessible.

Bakels mixes are currently available at Sainsbury's and on Amazon.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Hot Cross Buns - 2016 version

Ever since I left home, I've always made fresh hot cross buns on the morning of Good Friday. Having children with allergies didn't stop that, they've just evolved with the restrictions and a better understanding of free from baking.

Same recipe, but Coori flour on left and Doves Farm on right
I always struggled a bit with gluten free bread as it tends to need more of a batter type consistency and, for me, part of the joy of making bread was in the kneading. Even in the 4 years since Mini Monster had to cut out wheat too, as well as the huge improvement in ready made breads (although most still contain egg, milk, soya or chickpea, all of which we still have to avoid), there has been an improvement in flour mixes available, with many having more elasticity even without the gluten. 

One of the downsides to wheat/gluten free baking is that the huge variety of flours now available all have different properties, this makes generic recipes more difficult to follow as some require more or less fluid than the recipe suggests. The difficulty with my job is we're not supposed to recommend specific brands, or if we do, we have to give more than one example of a particular product. 

While I've been a bit lax at posting recipes over the last year and a half, anyone who follows me on Twitter will know I've developed a love affair with Coori flour mixes, however, these are not readily available so I made this recipe with Doves farm White Bread Flour too (I had also meant to do a batch with Bakels White Bread mix too, but don't have any at the moment) just so you have a more accessible option. They may look very different, but both taste good, which is the main thing…

For 12 buns

400g Coori Puff Pastry Mix or 380g Doves Farm White Bread Flour, plus 20g Arrowroot
30g sugar (I used light muscovado)
2tbsp Mixed Spice
260mls Milk Substitute (hand hot)
2tsp Dried Yeast
100g Dairy and Soya Free Spread 
150g chopped dried fruit/chocolate chips

75g Wheat Free Flour plus Milk Substitute mixed to smooth paste that just holds it's shape, for crosses

2tbsp Caster sugar and water to glaze

Sprinkle yeast onto the warm milk substitute, stir and set aside for 5 minutes.

Place flour, sugar and spices in a bowl.

Stir in the frothed yeast mixture with a blunt knife. Once  it's come together, knead gently to form a smooth ball (you may need a little extra flour if too sticky, but don't be tempted to add too much).

Cover and set aside in a warm place to rise for 30mins.

Knead again, then roll out to a large rectangle (I do it on cling film to proven cross contamination from worktop or rolling pin).

Spread on half the dairy free spread, then fold the dough into thirds.

Re roll and repeat. Fold and roll another couple of times until the spread stops oozing out (you can just knead it again, but don't add too much flour).

Add the dried fruit and knead in.

These had dried sour cherries and chocolate chips
These were apricot, candy peel and chocolate chips
Divide the mixture and shape into balls and place on a greased baking tray. Oil the tops and cover lightly with cling film, set aside to rise.

Add caption
Mix the flour and milk substitute to a thin paste. Put in piping bag (or a greaseproof paper cone). Pipe crosses onto the tops of the risen buns.

Mixture for my crosses was a little too thick this year...
Bake at 200-220ºC for 25 mins (I don't think my oven is hot enough at the moment, so turned the temp up to 220, but that may be too hot in some) or until nicely browned.

Dissolve the sugar in a little boiling water and brush on the buns as soon as they come out of the oven. Put them back in for a minute to 'set' the glaze.

Eat warm from the oven, or split them and toast them (isnseparate toaster, or in a toaster pocket to prevent cross contamination).