Leek and potato soup

Well it’s been a funny old week weather wise. Here in the shire we’ve had rain, snow, hail and wind inter spaced with token gestures of sunshine. So to amuse mini me, and have something warming for lunch we made a leek and potato soup. 

It’s comforting in cold weather, and not a drop of cream in sight ( feel free to add some if you prefer though). You can leave it chunky it or blend it smooth, which is my preference, it’s up to you. The main point is it’s super easy, and delicious to. 

  
Ingredients

  • 1 tbs coconut oil 
  • 1 onion chopped thinly 
  • 250 g potato 
  • 2 medium leeks 
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock 
  • Salt and pepper to season ( I use pink Himalayan salt) 

Method 

  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan, and add the onion. Fry for 3-4 minutes until they soften. 
  • Add the leeks and potato cook for a further 5 minutes. It’s better to cut the potato into small chunks so it cooks evenly and faster. 
  • Season and add the vegetable stock. You can make your own or use a stock cube with boiling water, either works. 
  • Bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are tender. 
  • Blend with a hand blender or blender until smooth. 
  • Enjoy a bowl when you are ready. 

  

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Turmeric Latte 

It’s that mid-afternoon slump, and unseasonably cold here in then leafy shires. I fancied a latte.  Today I’m having a latte with a difference – Turmeric. As in the South Asian grown spice (related to the ginger plant) widely used in Indian and Asian cooking. I’m not going mad bear with me. 

Now there has been many a claim about the miracles of this spice. Some of which I’d take with a pinch of salt as there isn’t enough hard evidence to credit or discredit it. So I’m not stating these, however this type of latte is better than your usual sugar laden offerings from high street coffee houses and I’ll stand by that ( oh and it’s tasty to). 

  
Ingredients

  • 250ml of plant based milk, I used coconut but almond or cashew work well to. 
  • 1tsp Turmeric
  • 1tsp agave nectar ( or less if you prefer) 
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon to serve. 

Method

  • Place all ingredients into a milk pan, and heat until steaming.
  • I mix with a milk frother 
  • Serve in mug and sprinkle with cinnamon to serve. 

Sit and relax with your mid afternoon drink. Enjoy.

Review Marks and Spencer Gluten Free Cheesecake

Firstly apologies for being quiet this week, my internet has had gremlins but ( and I hope I’m not tempting fate) it appears to be fixed now. So back to my blog it is. So the illusive extended “Made Without” has been slowly trickling into M&S and it is very much improved. Macaroni cheese, beef lasagne  , Apple pie and trifle as just some of the new products. Oh an this a gluten free New York Cheesecake. 

  

Now I’m sad I know but I find this quite exciting, I love cooking but sometimes you are in a rush, or time is waving you goodbye, and you need a pudding for your gluten free friend or aunt or however, – tah da ( if it’s in stock at you local one yet ). 

  It’s smaller than their other cheesecakes but also £3.50 instead of £4. This is good but I will add you could serve it to all your guests and unless you said it was gluten free they would never know. I say all your guests, but if there is any one with other allergies such as nuts, dairy and egg then it’s not for them I’m afraid. 

So the taste test, taken at a friends house with out the little ones ( I know it sounds mean but I think meaning eating something they can’t have in front of them). The base is crisp and made with a gluten free digestive type biscuit. The topping is rich, and creamy with a good vanilla taste, you can see the vanilla in it but ….. Here’s my negative it is delicious but gets very samey and, well a bit boring after each mouthful. The creamy texture is lovely but that and the biscuit crunch is all you get,  and this is just my opinion it would go so well with a fruit layer or coulis served on the side to enhance the cheesecake ( lemon or strawberry I would do). 

  
  So will I be buying is again, well yes I can see it being handy for family get togethers etc, but I will be adding a fruit accompliment to enhance it further. That and bringing my bike out of its winter hiding to help burn the calories off. 

  
Have you tried this, or any of the new range? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Review -Mrs Crimbles Gluten Free Madeleine

   
 
  Pre coeliac diagnosis, and having spent a fair amount of time in France I was quite fond of a Madeleine. Post diagnosis and many many attempts at creating a gluten free version I just could not succeed in perfecting the gluten free version of this French classic.  I just resided with the fact that this would be on my lust after, but never having list. ( along with the McQueen peeptoe heart shoes, and Johnny Depp). 

 Anyway I digress, my ears pricked up when I heard about Mrs Crimbles bringing out a new gluten free version of the classic Cake. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found said cakes in my local garden centre of all places. Fosse way Garden centre in case you were wondering. 

They only had the classic version, but you can also get a chocolate version as well direct from Mrs Crimbles. Now they do carry a ‘ may contain’ nut warning which I’m assuming is an actual risk as Mrs Crimbles makes a bakewell type slice with almonds, so I tried these during a post soft play nap (mini me, not myself) 

  
I was impressed, they are all individually wrapped which is handy if you are out and about, and being a normal Madeleine they are the usual size as well- perfect with a cup of coffee. You get a good waft of vanilla when you open the packet, and once you cut into the cake the texture is closed pack like I remember they used to be. 

These taste lovely, you get a fairly strong vanilla taste- I like that, and no artificial aftertaste. In fact they are quite moreish, so stopping yourself from reaching for another is challenging. Another point is that they are aren’t dry when you bite into them, as some gluten free cakes can be.  All in all I am impressed with them, and I look forward to trying the chocolate ones at a later date.  Well done Mrs Crimbles. 

Have you tried these yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Review- Mrs O’s Fuss Free Cake Mixes 

If you have never heard of Mrs O’s Fuss Free mixes then you are in for a treat. A small company producing easy baking mixes that are all Egg, Dairy, and nut free, and now gluten free. This made my ears prick up as nut free in a mix is hard to find. You can have a look for yourself  Here at the different goodies you can buy.

  
I was kindly sent a gluten free cake mix to experiment with and see what we all thought. Now I will confess I was skeptical ( I am by nature anyway) of an egg, dairy, and gluten free mix being any good in terms of rise, taste and texture, but I never form judgement until I’ve tried anything.

The mix is very easy to use, add to the mix :

100g melted dairy free spread ( I used butter in one trial and it works just as well)

200 ml rice milk

1tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp white wine vinegar.

Mix it up and hey presto your cake batter is ready ( it looks and feels like an egg containing mixture as well)


I made cupcakes and added raisins, little one loves them and was demanding them ( Waitroses’ are nut free). These take a shorter cooking time, roughly 20-25 minutes compared to 45-50 minute for a larger cake.

Now I have to say I was impressed with the rise in the cakes both small and large, and the texture was light and fluffy. Incidentally they keep better as well, still being soft and moist the day after, unlike some gluten free cakes can do.

 

I trialed the Victoria sponge on family, only one other is coeliac, and the verdict was the cake was tasty, moist and that the rise was impressive ( add puns later). I have to say I agree, the addition of the vanilla means you have a lovely flavoured sponge, with no artificial after taste left in your mouth.  I used cream as a filling with jam, I think buttercream would make the whole thing too sweet, but that is just me. It works well with other flavours to, I think a coffee cake will be next on the list.

It was great that mini me could also join in and no worry of her swelling up which is a bonus, and aside from the cooking time the whole thing took all of 10 minutes to put together which is great.

IMG_0963

The only slight disadvantage I could see some people having issue with is the cost of the product which ranges from £5.50 to £8.50, but for me peace of mind and convienience if you are in a rush are huge advantages, and well worth a try – I’m looking forward to the gluten free brownie mix when it’s available.

Disclaimer- I was sent this product to trial, but all views are my own, honest opinion.

Today’s Smoothie -Berry Blast

  
Morning all, I hope the week it treating you well? Just thought I’d share my smoothie this morning, I’ve been using stuff up and this totally works. 

Ingredients

  • Handful of Spinach
  • 1 frozen banan
  • 1cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1tbs chia seeds
  • Top with coconut milk (coconut water would work to I think) 

Blitz and serve. 

Review Marks and Spencer Dairy Free yogurts 

  
  As you may, or may not, of heard M&S are bringing out a whole new range of fresh free from products.  These are starting to filter into my local store (Stratford Maybird if you were wondering) . I saw these and at £1 for the two thought I’d try them. 

 Nth only thing I’d say is although the packaging is fresh, colourful and eye catching the information on it is slightly misleading. The “Eat Well” logo is proudly on display and only 80 kcal etc etc. This is all well and good, but if you read the nutritional information on the back each pot actually contains 11g of sugar so not quite as healthy as you are lead to believe. 

Enough of me being picky though, I know the crux of this post is how does it taste?  Out of the mouths of babes, my little one took one mouthful and loudly stated “mummy it’s nasty” so not a hit with her. My thoughts are its slightly insipid. It looks and smells rather inviting, and the fruit layer was quite pleasing to the taste buds ( all that sugar I guess) the soya does leave a funny aftertaste in your mouth which I didn’t like, but if you like soya then give it a try. 

  
  I prefer the coconut based dairy free yoghurts such as Koko or Coyo, but these are reasonable and offers another dairy free choice- although not for my household I’m afraid. 

Have you tried these yet? Let me know what you think.