Gluten Free Tiger Cake. 

As you may, or may not know, I have a three year old.  Those of you with kids will ( probably) tell you how, at times, the toddler years can be challenging, and I’m not just talking about allergies. 

I’ll paint you a picture, currently the obsession of LR is Thomas The Tank, Dinosaurs, Paw Patrol ( the theme tune makes my ears bleed) and animals. Which leads us on to the fact my birthday is this week and she thought it would be great if I have a birthday cake. Only Thing was madam thought a tiger cake would be great. Now if it’s anything like the dinosaur I attempted the other week, the cake was going to be a car crash- trying to explain that to a head strong tot was even worse.   The stropometer reached a level I think we have never seen before, and quite frankly I’ve no desire to see again.

So why am I babbling about my cake decorating disasters? Well the compromise was a tiger cake in the form of stripes ( sort of ) with chocolate and vanilla layers to look ( sort of) like a tiger,  and LO was promised to be able to like the bowl so the actual cooking could commence. 

  
 Don’t worry about the vanilla sponge looking a rather odd colour, yours will look great, ours had the addition of orange food colouring to add to the tiger theme. 

Ingredients 

  • 4 eggs
  •  100ml milk ( of choice) 
  • 250 ml oil I have used either coconut or sunflower
  • 250g caster sugar 
  • 1tsp vanilla extract 
  • 475g self raising flour ( I use Doves farm Gluten free) as a side note you can sub 75g of flour for ground almond which helps make the cake moist we don’t due to nut allergies. 
  • 25g Cocoa or raw cacao powder. 
  • 1tsp baking powder

Method 

  • Preheat oven to 180C /Gas Mark 4 
  • Line a 23cm cake tin 
  • Lightly beat the eggs then mix with the milk, oil and vanilla extract. Add 175 g of flour and whisk until smooth
  • Get 2 bowls pour half this mixture in 1 along with 1/2 tsp baking powder and another 175g of flour
  • In the other pour the rest, add the cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp baking powder and the remaining flower. 
  • In the centre of your tin put 2 large spoonfuls of white mixture, then the same of chocolate directly on top. Keep doing this until the tin is full

  

  • Don’t worry if it’s not perfect circles I had to improvise a bit at the side but it adds to the effect of the cake. 
  • Put in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. 
  • I let it cool for 10 mins in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

  

Et voila there you have your marble ( I mean tiger) cake. My only notes to add would be that I think it would look great decorated as a chocolate drippy edge cake with the full works in terms of a mountain of chocolates on top.  

It’s better eaten fairly quickly as well, I find the gluten free version has a tendency to go dry quite quickly, but it goes wonderfully with a cup of tea, and I fact the dry sponge I made into a chocolate and orange trifle….. Buts that’s another post. 

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Chocolate (Green) Smoothie

Hello, hello, hello I’m back ( or BT has finally fixed our phone line). anyway now normal service can be resumed and I’ve got loads of posts to share with you all, so I best get started. 

  
This here Is a green smoothie in disguise. It’s perfect for a chocolate fix but has less sugar than some of the other smoothie combinations out there. I’m not going to say  it’s clean, or sugar free etc, sugar is sugar whichever way you look at it, and this has some fruit in. 

Ingredients 

  • Handful of spinach 
  • Small piece of cucumber
  • 1/2 frozen banana 
  • A few chunks of mango
  • 1tsp of cacao powder 
  • 1/2 tsp maca powder
  • Milk of choice 

Place all ingredients into your blender/ nutribullet etc and voila there you have your smoothie

  
Right back to it I’m experimenting with photo backdrops and have some pictures to take. ( it’s one of my aims this year to improve my photography skills). 

Bircher ( Overnight Oats) Bowl 

Hmmm so how’s 2017 going for everyone? Not bad for us this end, although losing a dear friend has been a blow.  However this is not a post intended on depressing you all, on the contrary the year is still young, opportunities are a plenty and my popcorn machine is on standby for me to pull up my chair and watch the comedy/ horror/ disaster movie that is Trump ( I’m childish and still snigger at his name) going into the Oval Office. 

I’m sorry, I’m sorry I’m supposed to be keeping you all uplifted, well you will need energy to do this…..and this breakfast is perfect for that. I love ( gluten free) oats, they are filling, good for you, and versatile. What’s not to like? 

  

  The best thing about over night oats is that there is no right or wrong way to eat them, any flavour or combination work, they can be as clean ( or dirty??) as you want them to be, and can be made the night before. This is the real winner for me, as it saves precious time on that early morning rush….

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats ( or gluten free oats) 
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup of yoghurt or choice 
  • 1-2 tsp chia seeds ( optional) 
  • I dessert spoon raisins 
  • Sweeten with honey or maple syrup or Apple juice ( to suit your palate ) 
  • Topping of choice 

Mix the oats, milk, yoghurt, chia and sweetner together and leave for 6-8 hours in the fridge. 

In the morning add to a jar ( or bowl) and have fun with your toppings. 

  

Have you tried over night oats? What’s your favourite flavour combinations? Let me know in the comments below. 

Cranberry Sauce 

Boring title I know, but personally I don’t think you can have a Christmas dinner without cranberry sauce. I know as well that it is easy to open a jar, but I find something deeply satisfying in making it myself. Oh and did I mention it is almost effortless to boot. 

 

Ingredients 

  • 1 pack of fresh cranberries ( roughly 250g) 
  • 100ml Orange juice and zest if 1 orange
  • 100g caster sugar
  • Optional- a good slug of port. 

Method

  • Pour the juice,  zest, port and sugar into a pan, heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. 
  • Pour in the cranberries 
  •  Stir in the cranberries and start to simmer. 
  • The cranberries will start to burst when ready. You can either give them a vigorous stir to break them down, or leave them in their glorious half burst textures. 
  • As the sauce cools it will thicken. 

Serve as part of your Christmas dinner or with Brie in a toasted sandwhich. 

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 

Eggnog Smoothie

Welcome to day 2 of my Blogmas posts. I thought a recipe would go down well for today.  I say a recipe, but that makes this super easy smoothie sound harder yo make than it is.  Fear not it’s incredibly easy and tastes fantastic. 

 Edit   
To me there is nothing more satisfying that the festive taste of an eggnog, it’s rich and oh so moreish and contains all the right spices that just scream christmas. However I can appreciate as much as the next that A) not everyone likes the idea of eggs in a drink and B) it’s fairly  calorific as a drink, but hey it is christmas so a treat is ok.  With all this in mind this version has all the taste but without the egg or refined sugar. I can’t (and won’t) be jumping on the clean wagon with this. There is still sugar in it- so you know every thing in moderation, but this can be vegan friendly, it’s all down to your choice of milk used. 

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 dates or a dash of maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • Top up with milk of your choice ( almond works brilliantly) 

Put all ingredients into your blender and blitz until well combined.

 Edit   
Enjoy in between wrapping, putting up decorations or, in my case, as a reward from stopping the cat from wrecking the Christmas tree. Cheers 

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.     

Green Banana Flour

Am I going bananas? It this a thing? Well ( some would argue yes to both if they know me) green banana flour is the latest grain free flour to hit the ever growing “free from” market.  I can hear health fashionistas jumping for joy from here.  However my burning question was what is it exactly, and do I need to try it/ incorporate it into our allergen riddled lifestyle? 

I’m interested both personally, and professionally, I’m often asked about diet and lifestyle and giving advice to patients, so I was keen to find out. That and by nature I’m quite inquisitive so one no show the other afternoon had me looking at the research. 

In the green phase banana has a high starch/ resistant starch content. This type of carbohydrate isn’t as quickly absorbed by the body- keeping us feeling fuller for longer, and helping to regulate insulin levels ( Bras et al 2013).  Also by nature it is high in potassium and gluten, dairy and nut free. 

  
Natural Evolution kindly sent me some flour to experiment with, and I’ve had great fun with some creations. It is a difficult flour to get to grips with in baking, you need less than conventional flour and a fair amount of liquid. Bear with it though. It gives a lovely almost nutty taste and a fairly light fluffy texture.   My tip ( as advised by Natural Evolution ) was to start out trying a spoonful in your smoothie, it provides  a thicker texture and I swear I felt more satisfied after, which is a bonus in a morning if you are In a rush. 
So my next trial was a cake, and being autumn, coupled with the fact we grew a lot of apples I decided on a spiced apple cake.  This works well either on its own ( with a coffee obviously) or as a pudding with custard. The nutty taste of the flour also lends itself well to spices like cinnamon and mixed spice. 

Ingredients 

  • 140g banana flour
  • 50g brown rice flour
  • 150 g sugar of choice (caster, stevia etc) 
  • 1tsp gf baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of oil eg, coconut, vegetable or grape seed ( I used coconut) 
  • 1/2 cup of milk of choice
  • 1-2 sweet apples. 

Method 

  • Preheat your oven to 180 and line a cake tin. 
  • Melt your oil if using coconut. 
  • Mix dry ingredients together. 
  • Beat the eggs and add to the oil. 
  • Mix wet and dry together. 
  • The mixture goes like a crumbly dough- add your milk at this point and mix well. 
  • If it’s still a bit dry add some more milk a splash at a time until a smooth batter is achieved
  • Pour half into a tin and add a layer of Apple. 
  • Cover with the rest of the mixture
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  • Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes then transfer to a rack. 

  

Serve and enjoy.

  

Have you tried green banana flour yet? What are your thoughts or tips? Let me know in the comments below. 

Easy Slow Cooker Rice Pudding 

 
  Hello to you all, apologies to being a bit quiet, I got married on Sunday so the last week or so has been a whirlwind of flowers, organising catering, hair, makeup and celebrations.  All went well, we are very happy, but when the new week started my head was still sore, my feet hurt, and we had visitors – cooking wasn’t  top of the list.  

However all was not lost, it’s autumn ( or Fall for my American readers) which for me means slow cooker season. Now I love my slow cooker, and don’t be deceived that they are just for stews- oh no, and I shall show you here. 

Rice pudding, in 4 hours with no effect ( or skin, I hate the skin). It’s thick and creamy, perfect for the cooler evenings ( and hangovers). 

  

Serves 4-6 

Ingredients

  • 100g pudding rice
  • 3 pints of milk of choice ( dairy or almond work well) 
  • 4tbs of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract 
  • 1 generous  knob of butter 

Method,

This couldn’t be easier, place everything in your slow cooker, turn on high and leave for 3-4 hours until thick and creamy. 

Serve and eat straight away. 

Cherry Clafoutis Gluten Free 

I love cherries, I mean not just like them I LOVE cherries. They are my sweets of sorts.  So this recipe is great because is combines cherries and cherry brandy, awesome paring don’t you think. 

That and the new additions to the family, the chickens ( all 14 of them) are laying, so eggs are something I’m not short of.  I’m not complaining though, I did however complain when they scratched up my lettuce. 

This recipe is also so easy, although I’m not by any means claiming I invented it, it’s been around for years, originating from 19th century France I believe. However I’ve put a glutenfree tweak on it.  One more point, if your don’t like cherries, don’t worry use blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries instead.

   

Ingredients 

  • 400g halved and pitted cherries
  • 4 tbs cherry brandy or Kirsch 
  • 100 ml milk
  • 150 ml double cream 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or fresh vanilla ( one stick) 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 25g gluten free plain flour 

Method 

  • Preheat oven to 180c and grease a shallow flan dish. 
  • Soak your cherries in the kirsch. 
  • In a pan heat the milk, cream and vanilla. Heat yo almost boiling. 
  • In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together, and then add the flour, mixing until you have a smooth texture. 
  • Pour your milk into the egg mixture, mixing well to prevent lumps. 
  • Pour into your flan dish and place the cherries into the custard. 
  • Cook for 30-35 minutes until risen. 
  • Serve warm ( it’s better in my opinion) with cream. 

There you have it. Easy and delicious. Enjoy.