New Product Review -Naturelly Jelly Drink

Naturelly has just won Best Toddler Snack in the LBC awards. See my review here.

Free From Foodie

Parents behold, there is a new product in town , and it doesn’t disappoint. This is Naturelly jelly juice. The lovely people at Naturelly were kind enough to send me ( well mini me) some samples, so what follows is our thoughts.

Naturelly is a jelly juice/ snack made from natural fruit juice And jelly made from a dietary fibre called Gellan gum. This means its gelatine free and been approved by the vegetarian society and coeliac uk. As a mum to a toddler with allergies I can see these being great for picnics, lunch boxes and days out as they are easily portable, great out the fridge and have a screw top to save for later.

They are gluten free, dairy free, nut free and only 7.2g of sugar per pouch. For us ( and I’m sure many others) I see this a huge positives. For the record I…

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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. 

  

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.

My super smoothie

Silly title I know, but it really is super and full of antioxidants and a great choice for National Breakfast Week.  This is a quick post today as I’m in the midst of funeral organising sadly, but never the less I still wanted to share this with you all. 

  
Ingredients 

140mls water or milk of your choice

Handful of spinach 

Handful of blueberries

1 Apple cored

1 good handful of beetroot in natural juice 

1tbs chia seeds (optional) 

Honey or agave to sweeten. 


Blitz for 45 seconds and serve. I should add you can use ice cubes as well if you like your drinks that bit cooler in the mornings. 

Cornmeal Savoury Muffins, Gluten Free 

Having been in discussions of lunch ideas and different things for people with multiple allergies I decided to blog this recipe. The beauty of these muffins is that the flavours can be changed to suit your taste. They can be frozen, and are perfect for lunch boxes of big and little boys and girls,  or instead of a bread roll with soups and salads.

Ingredients 

  • 2-4 rashers of streaky bacon (or ham, or omit if vegetarian) 
  • 1 small red onion 
  • 60g grated cheese (or dairy free equivalent) 
  • 175g polenta or cornmeal 
  • 125g plain flour ( I used Doves Farm gluten free) 
  • 2 tsp gluten free baking powder 
  • 200ml milk 
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 TBsp vegetable oil 


Method

  • Preheat oven to 200 0C
  • Firstly start by dry frying the bacon (which needs to be chopped up) and onion in a pan until the bacon crisps at the edges. This takes about 5 minutes
  • Set aside and leave to cool.
  • In a bowl add the polenta, flour and baking powder and mix together.
  • Stir in the bacon and grate in the cheese.
  • In a jug pour the milk, add the eggs and oil then beat until combined. I should add if you need dairy free then rice milk works well here. Nut based milks have a funny taste with the polenta in my opinion.
  • Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Put into a 12 hole muffin tray. My tip us to use muffin cases as then you won’t encounter and sticking issues- can you tell I speak from experience?
  • Cook on the centre shelf for about 20 minutes when the muffins should be risen and golden.
  • If you don’t use liners run a knife round the edge of the muffins to get then out easier.


You can experiment with flavours, sun dried tomatoes, ham, chives, olives and asparagus all work well. The main thing is lunch boxes will never be boring again. What are your favourite flavour combinations? Let me know in the comments below.

Toad In The Hole-Gluten Free

In honor of national sausage week (yes is it a thing) I thought it would be rude to not put a sausage based recipe on the blog. I mean sausages have to be up there with fish and chips or a roast dinner as a British favourite. 

   
 I find this method fool proof and works well as a gluten free or non gf version by just changing the flour mixed. It’s done more by volume rather than measuring out (a trick a certain Jamie Oliver favours I believe). You need a cup, any size depending on how much batter mix you need. The trick is to use equal measures of egg, flour and milk. 

Ingredients 

Sausages of your choice I used The Black Farmer gluten free sausages. 

1 cup of milk

1 cup of self raising gluten free flour

1 cup of eggs 

Pinch of salt. 

Method. 

Mix together the eggs, salt, flour and milk and whisk to form the batter. 

I let it stand for about 10 minutes but you don’t have to. 

Heat some oil or dripping in your dish, add the sausages then pour over the batter. Be careful when adding the sausages as the oil will be hot and could spit out at you. ( I speak from experience) 

Cook at 180 for about 20 minutes or so. Resist opening the oven door-batter can be temperamental. 

When the batter is well risen and golden the dish is cooked. 

Serve with mash and onion gravy- delicious. 

NB- I part cook the sausages in a pan before adding to the batter but which ever way you choose is fine. 

This is a recipe I’ve adapted from others. 

  

Product Review: Tesco Free From Coconut Tapioca With Alphonso Mango Dessert 

  You may, or may not have noticed but Tesco have been expanding their free from ranges recently. I came across these intriguing pots in the fresh aisle in my local store. Now I love tapioca so I thought “right I’ll have a bit of that” and into my basket they went. I should add, I had time to browse today as mini me was with her grandparents and I’d got a spare hour after work. 

  I like the packaging, you can clearly see what you are getting, 2 generous pots of lovely ness with a smooth mango layer topped with the tapioca. This has been made with coconut milk so both gluten and dairy free. Incase you were wondering Alphonso mango is of Indian origin and considered to be of a superior quality for sweetness, richness and taste. 

  
So for the taste test, I have always like tapioca it was a favourite of mine at school-feel free to embark on nostalgic memories of “frog spawn” from your childhoods. The tapioca has a creamy texture that works well with the coconut and the mango layer has a slight sharpness which I like. I’m not a huge fan of things that are overly sweet. To me it puts a grown up twist on an old school favourite, and I have to say I liked it. So the big question would I buy it again- well yes I would and at £2.50 they don’t break the piggy bank either . 

Have you tried these or any of the other newbies from the free from range?? Let me know in the comments below. TTFN x 

Chocolate Beetroot Cake, Gluten Free 

Vegetables in a cake?? I hear you cry, well before you shudder in horror bear with me, you will be amazed at the end results.  The beetroot produces a wonderfully moist rich textured cake, that is also great served warm with cream or custard as a pudding. 

  

Ingredients 

  • 50g  cocoa powder
  • 175g plain flour, I used Doves Farm gluten free. 
  • 1½tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250g cooked beetroot
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 100g dark chocolate, finely chopped I used kinnerton which is nut free. 

Method 

  • Pre heat your oven to 180 c 
  • Place the cooked beetroot and oil in a blender and blend until fairly smooth, slowly add the eggs one at a time and blend. 
  • Add the sugar and mix
  • I combine all the dry ingredients in another bowl, then make a well in the middle and pour in the wet ingredients.
  • Mix together and fold in the chocolate 
  • Pour into a lined 8inch cake tin, you can use a loaf tin as well.
  • Bake for roughly 45 minutes or until a inserted skewer comes out clean. 

I hope you enjoy this cake, if you have tried any other veg based cakes them let me know in the comments. 
Gemma 

Banana Bread… Gluten Free 

  

I thought I’d share this ever so easy recipe with you all, I hate waste and this recipe is perfect for using up those ripe, spotted bananas that so often get resigned to the compost heap or bin. It’s also a great excuse to make a cake, and is a perfect pick me up with your afternoon cup of tea. 

It’s easily adapted and works well with gluten free and wheat flours alike. The other bonus is that it can be nut free if you need or chose it to be- hurray. I personally think it’s best eaten on the day it’s baked or just after, and you can choose how thick (or thin) you can cut the slices, delicious. 

Ingredients 

  • 175g plan flour I used Doves Farm
  • 2 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 125g butter (or dairy free alternative) 
  • 150grams caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

NB you can add 60g of chopped walnuts if you desire, I haven’t due to little ones nut allergy 

Method

  • Preheat oven to 170oc or gas mark 3 
  • In one bowl combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb and xanthan gum by giving them a good mix together. 
  • In another bowl melt the butter and combine with the sugar, 
  • Beat in each egg
  • Mash the bananas and add to the egg/ butter mixture
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and mix together. I use a wooden spoon but you can use a mixer. I then add the vanilla extract. 
  • Add the nuts if using them. 
  • Put in a lined bread tin and into the oven to bake. 
  • Depending on your oven cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. To check if cooked an inserted cocktail stick should come out clean. 

Leave to cool on a wire rack and enjoy the fruits of your labour with a cup of tea. 

 

The Finished Loaf

 

  Hope you enjoy this recipe, and thank you for reading. 

(Mostly) Blackcurrant Jam

   
  As this week is national Afternoon Tea Week I didn’t need much more of an excuse to share this easy jam recipe with you all.   It’s called mostly jam because it’s mostly Blackcurrant with some blueberries as well. Any purists out there please feel free to just stick to one fruit. This is my take on my grandmothers’ recipe, I’m sure she’d be thrilled I’m using and sharing it. 

  For me I love then tangy bursts of Blackcurrant which go famously with a scone and cream or Victoria sponge, especially if you fancy a Change from the traditional strawberry jam.  I also had a glut of these glorious berries ( this year I’ve gone all good life) and didn’t want to waste them. 

The other good news is that this recipe is gluten, dairy and if made if a nut free environment then nut free as well.  Anyway enough of my ramblings I’ll get on to the recipe. 

Equipment 

Jam pan

 Sugar Thermometer

Scales 

Sterilised jam jars and lids.


Ingredients

300 grams/ 10.5 ozs fruit

300 grams /10.5 ozs jam sugar

Juice of a lemon 

200 mls of water 

Method

  • The beauty of this recipe is that you can you the whole of the berry. I pick off the stalks then after a good wash put them into the pan. You can top and tail them if you wish or strain the jam through a muslin later but i prefer my jams with a rustic feel so bits/ pips don’t bother me. 
  • Pour over the water and heat gently until the water reaches boiling point, the fruit softens and starts to split.
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes, the water should have evaporated by now. 
  • Add the sugar and lemon juice, cook with a gentle rolling boil until the sugar thermometer reaches 105c / 220F this is your setting point. I should add a saucer put in the freezer and seeing if the jam wrinkles at the edges when put on the cold saucer will also tell you the jam has reached setting point. 
  • Leave to cool for a few minutes before pouring in clean sterilised jars. 

Voila there will be roughly 2 jars of yummy jam to enjoy. 

  


Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy your jam making to go with those afternoon teas. Let me know in the comments box.