Allergy Friendly Cupcakes 

Welcome one and all ( old English christmas speak ) to Blogmas day five. I hope the new week brings you some more festive cheer, me on the other hand have a beauty of a cold and a three year old to entertain. It wasn’t fairing too well but we hit on a winner with baking cupcakes. 

They are easy to make and if your kids are like mine then the decorating will keep them entertained for a bit, then you get another 5-10 minutes for eating their creations – result. I take no credit for the recipe either, it’s adapted from your traditional sponge recipe just made allergy friendly. 

I’ll reiterate that mini me did a lot of the decorating, but to add on a more serious note Waitrose Christmas cake decorations are largely free of gluten, nuts and soya. B&M have gluten free cupcake toppers to. 

  

Ingredients 

  • 125g self raising flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g butter ( or dairy free alternative) 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract 

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  • Cream together butter and sugar
  • Add the eggs one at a time. 
  • Add vanilla extract
  • Sift in flour and stir until well combined. 
  • Put in cupcake cakes and bake in the oven until well risen and firm to touch. (15 minutes roughly) 
  • Cool on a wire rack and decorate to your hearts content. 

After all that hard work, have a well earned 5 minutes eating one of these creations until your kids utter the dreaded words “I’m bored!!!” 

That’s it from me for now. Have a great evening and I’ll be back tomorrow x 

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Review- Tesco Free From Truffles

Hello and welcome to Blogmas day 3/4 , its a bit late but here none the less , all best intentions were lost as I’ve been struck with the dreaded lurgy. 

I hope you are getting into the Christmas spirit? A grotto visit has got mini me super excited and we still have 3 weeks left- wish me luck. 

  
Anyway today I thought I’d share my thoughts on this new find from Tesco.  Free From Fondant Truffles, they are a mouthful to say, and a mouthful to eat.  Anyway the bonus is they are wheat, gluten, egg and milk free. ( I’m waiting for confirmation of nuts). 

  

So how do they taste? The thick chocolate outer is a pleasant milk chocolate, that doesn’t have that cheap  Artificial sweetness to it, however the soft fondant centre is very very sweet. If I’m honest they are not for me but then I do prefer dark chocolate. For me they sit well with a coffee after dinner ( which I assume is their intent). What is brilliant though is that there is a grown up, affordable (£2.00) dairy free truffle on the market now. 

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

Review- Angels & Cookies Cookie Dough 

  
  The name is romantic, the logo vintage, the products are super and free from the top 14 allergens. Say hello to Angels and Cookies a new company on the free from scene.  

  Their product is raw cookie doughs in 3 flavours Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Chip and Ginger & Spice. All come ready to bake and each pot can make roughly 6 large or 12 small cookies ( £7.99 a pot).   The lovely people from Angels and Cookies sent me some goodies to try and get creative with- so here are my thoughts. 

They are extremely easy to bake, preheat your oven to 180c. I took the dough out of the fridge 15 minutes before using it. You then divide it into however many cookies you want. Roll into a ball and then flatten.  You can also roll the dough between baking parchment to get a thinner biscuit, which is ideal for then cutting with a cookie cutter. 

 

Cook for 12-15 minutes. Leave to cool on a cooling rack before tucking in. 

  
So how do they taste? In short delicious. My particular favourite is the ginger, if you go for large and soft baked it’s wonderful with a cup of coffee. If you go for a thinner, crispy biscuit you then have a perfect ginger snap ( which dunked really well). The smell whilst cooking was amazing, just perfect for the Christmas season. 

Mini me favoured the chocolate fudge, it’s satisfying for a chocolate hit, but not overly sweet or full of sugar like shop bought ones can be. I made sandwhich cookies with a chocolate buttercream filling, and they were exceptional ( my take on an Oreo if you will). 

Lastly Choc chip, well what’s not to like? They taste better than supermarket cookies I’ve tried in the past- no artificial aftertaste in your mouth.  The chocolate is dark, the dough is plain, mixed together they are a match made in heaven.  I’ve not yet tried, but I can see this working well in a home made ice cream. It’s up there on my to try list- I cannot remember the last time I had cookie dough ice cream. 
   

 
   I throughly recommend this cookie dough, as does the biggest critic of them all – my 3 year old. I have to  say she also enjoyed the baking element of the process to, and I can feel better knowing  that most of the ingredients are ( where possible) organic and free of nasties. 

Have you tried this cookie dough yet? If so let me know about your creations in the comments below.     

Review- Tesco Free From Instant Rice Noodles

I’ve never been a pot noodle fan, but in fairness it’s been so long now I cannot remember what they taste like. ( I’m assuming I’m not missing much?)  so I was a bit skeptical when I noticed these new instant rice noodle pots in Tesco Free From range the other day, but I was in a rush and thought well why not?

  
  They seemed ok for the fat and sugar content, so not too bad for a quick lunch on the go. It’s easy to prepare-empty contents into pot, pour on water, put lid on and then leave for 4 minutes et voila. 

I was amazed, the cardboard like noodles had transformed into long ribbons of rice noodle, that in fairness looked quite appealing, in a lazy sort of way. 

My tip is give it a good stir, my first mouthful was horrid, it just tasted bland, but a good mix brings out the flavour. The curry isn’t like a cheap  curry sauce flavour either, there is spice, and heat. It’s warming and satisfying all in a mouthful. 

  
I have to say I’m impressed, and although I would not want to eat them all the time, as a quick and satisfying lunch option these pots are very good. It’s encouraging to find a savoury product in a free from range that covers other allergies to – these are also dairy free. So thumbs up Tesco, keep up the good work. 

Rana’s Ingenious Flatbreads 

It’s busy busy busy here at the moment, wedding preparations are into the final few stages, wedding is in T-5 weeks!  I’m still trying to convince mini me her flower girl dress is the way forward ( she’s having none of it in case you were wondering) I needed a happy distraction, and it came in the form of Rana’s Ingenious  Flatbread Mix. 

  
The lovely peeps from Rana’s sent me this, and as I was peckish the other lunch time, it was time to give it a go. The mixture is adaptable, you can make many things including pizza bases, and cheese crackers, but to start I gave actual flat breads a go. 

The instructions are super easy, weigh out your mixture, add warm water, mix leave for 5 minutes, then mix vigorously ( I love that word) for a minute. The next step is to shape on parchment paper, but do flour the surface your dough is put on, and using a wet spatula is so much easier. Leave to prove for thirty minutes. 

Cooking is easy to, even for me. On a heated frying pan place the bread dough side down, and leave the paper on, it took about 5 minutes but as the bread is getting ready the paper starts to ballon a bit, and it’s then easy to peel off, and flip over to cook the other side. 

  
  They really are delicious, I had to bake more, mini me stole the first one. Even better the mix is both gluten and nut free, as well as egg, dairy and soya free so can be enjoyed by everyone. 

I served them simply with a balsamic and olive oil dip which worked wonderfully. My next mission is cheese crackers- I’ll keep you posted on how I get on. 

Review -Alpro Go On Pots 

I know I’ve been a little quiet this week, wedding prep has been taking over, but I’m back and raring to go.  And speaking of raring to go, this new yoghurt alternative from Alpro is great for an on the go breakfast,  or mid morning snack. 

 

  Now I was skeptical, I hate ( with a passion) soya lattes, I much prefer coconut based products taste wise, but I’ll not knock something until I’ve tried it, so Off to waitrose I toddled to pick a pot up. I went for Blackcurrant, but mango or Passionfruit are your other 2 flavour options. The pots are single annd around 85p each. 

I should point out these  Are both gluten and dairy free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians, they do however have a “may contain” for tree nuts in the allergen list. 

 Anyway how does it taste, I was really impressed. The yoghurt is thick and creamy, with a silky texture.  There was a good layer of both fruit and yoghurt. The tangy sensation from the Blackcurrant was delicious, and not too sweet or sickly. Another bonus is that these pots are high in protein, which may have helped keep the hunger pangs at bay . I’ll definitely be trying  the other flavours. 

These pots have restored my faith in soya products- some are really delicious. 

Have you tried these new products? If so let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 
Disclaimer: I was sent a voucher for a pot to sample.  All thoughts and opinion are my own, and honest. 

Chocolate Courgette Cake 

Since I’ve gone all good life ( as my friends tell me) my garden is in full produce production. Courgettes are one such thing that I have a glut of. There are only so many ratatouilles that you can eat, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like them, so on went the thinking cap and amongst other things a courgette cake was one of my ideas. 

  
Now don’t be put off by thinking ( baby George style) “yuck, veg in a cake” you cannot tell and the sponge is wonderfully moist. This is great as my version is gluten free as well, which can have a tendency to dry out, but the moisture from the courgette gives the cake a fudgy texture. It’s great warm as a pudding with some kind of creamy addition or with your afternoon cup of tea. 

I topped it off with a dark chocolate ganache which works well- be warned though your kids get plastered in it. Mind you its a win win as licking the bowl does keep them quiet for a while. I take no responsibility for the messy chops and clothes though. 

Ingredients 

  • 350g self raising flour ( I used Doves farm gluten free) 
  • 50g Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 300g caster sugar 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 175 ml melted coconut oil 
  • 2 medium courgettes grated 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Method 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a 24cm cake tin. 
  • Grate your courgette and set aside.
  • In a bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, mixed spice and xanthan gum. 
  • Mix the eggs with the sugar and melted oil and vanilla extract and then fold in the courgette. 
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients and pour into your cake tin.
  • Cook for roughly 40 minutes or until your inserted skewer comes out clean. 

If you want to make a ganache place 200g of chocolate ( I used kinnerton)  in a bowl Andreas until boiling point 100 ml of double cream.  Pour this over the chocolate and stir well. Once the mixture has cooled and thickened then pour on top of your cake. 

  

Rana’s Artisan Bread 

  
Psst… See the loaf in the picture? Well I (Mrs usually bakes doorstops) baked it. I’ll get back to the beginning. I have the honour of becoming a brand representative for Ranas’ Artisan Bakery.  If you haven’t heard about them, they offer both baked goods and bread mixes to bake at home. The added bonus is that not only are these all gluten free, but free from the dairy, eggs, nuts and soya to. 

 So anyway I was sent a bread mix to play with- Bold Buckwheat. I’ve never been fantastic with bread making, and gluten free versions even less so, however I was optimistic as the packaging stated “just add water”. Easy enough I thought, although the funny porridge like texture of the dough I was left with did have me wondering, but never the less carry on I did ( the very clear instruction sheet helped a great deal) 

Next step is to leave the dough for 5 minutes, then stir for 1 minute before shaping your loaf on the grease proof paper provided ( a wet spatula helps). 

  
Once shaped, pop your loaf into the bag and seal, then leave to prove for an hour. Now I was worried, you can’t see through the bag and it didn’t seem to rise much , again back to the instructions which reassured me to not expectd too much of a rise, -panick averted. 
Then pop into the oven and bake for 90 minutes. It said best results with non fan oven. I’ve only got a fan oven so I thought I’d give it a go anyway. It was fine, but I’d be interested to hijack my mums aga and try in there to compare. 

  
You then have to left it Cool completely on a wire rack and bat off little (and big) hands until it does so but believe me it’s worth the wait. I was very impressed with the first attempt. It has a strong tang to it, which I loved ( even tiny tot went in for seconds) and toasted either for breakfast or as bruschetta is is delicious. I can even see it going well with our Christmas cheese board. 

 So my over all verdict is that I’m very impressed with this mix. My only slightly negative comment is the £3.99  Price tag, which does put them at the top end of gluten free artisan loaves but you do get what you pay for, it tastes lovely, has the best crust on any gluten free loaf I’ve tasted, and free from multiple allergens.

Keep reading as I’ve got a few recipes up my sleeves to incorporate these loaves. 

Breakfast parfait Gluten and Dairy free 

Parfait what’s not to like right? Whether it’s the frozen dessert or layered up in a pot I think it’s great. I’ve become a fan of mason jars or jam jars and they are great for providing a vessel to transport your breakfast. And what could be better than one of these pots of joy?? 

  So this weekend we went berry picking,  we have a few farms that have pick your own around where we live, I love the scrabbling around through the strawberry plants and raspberry canes searching for the little red jewels that are hidden beneath the leaves. Mini me ( being the slightly ferrel child she is) loves it to- and it’s all nut free so it makes for a great hours entertainment. I do confess I had to buy a drink ( I felt guilty as Lily-Rose actually consumed her body weight of raspberries as we went round) 

Anyway I digress a bit. I’ve all these fresh berries and it’s hot ( yippee) so parfait pots made for a great, healthy breakfast. Perfect for summer. 

   

Ingredients 

  • 1 banana mashed with 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • Yoghurt of your choice ( I used KoKo coconut dairy free ) 
  • Fruit of your choice 
  • Granola ( I used Delicious Alchemy Nutty Granola). Or my own recipe for a nut free version 

  

The method is easy, banana at the bottom, and then layer up however you fancy. Then dive in with a spoon and enjoy. 

Do you like parfait? What’s your favourite flavour combination? Let me know in the comments below. 

Fruity Berry Smoothie Bowl 

So smoothie bowls, what’s all the fuss you may ask? These lovely creations are so much more than something to make for pretty Instagram photos ( although I’m not denying they do make pretty Instagram photos). They are a great way to eat fruit/ vegetables if that’s not your thing, they are perfect for breakfast or as a satisfying sweet craving if you find yourself thinking about grabbing that Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer. 

  
They are also very easy to make ( just aim for a thicker version of your regular smoothie) and you can experiment to your hearts content on different flavour combinations and toppings. Things that work well are chia seeds, fruit, cacao nibs, desiccated coconut, coconut chips or coarsely chopped nuts. The main thing is to have fun and enjoy making and eating your healthy creations. 

I took my flavour inspiration from Wimbledon and berry season here in the UK, that and places like Aldi have cherries for 59p at the moment so it would be rude to not buy them right? 

So how to make a bowl- it’s more assembly work really, rather than cooking but here is the recipe: 

Ingredients 

  • 1 frozen banana
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/2 cup strawberries 
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 6-8 cherries chopped 
  • 200 ml milk of your choice ( add more a bit at a time for your desired texture) 

Method

Blend all the ingredients together 

Pour into a bowl and then decorate however you fancy.  In this recipe I have used chia seeds, coconut and strawberries. 

Serve and enjoy. 

  

Have you tried a smoothie bowl yet? What are your favourite flavour combinations? 

Free From
Farmhouse