Friday, 8 October 2010

Gluten Free Goats Cheese & Red Onion Muffins

I've had a real urge to bake today.  It was just the way I wanted to spend the day, in and out of the kitchen as delicious smells wafted around.  Ideally, I wanted to make bread.  Soft loaves that were flavoured with some nice and savoury.  Marbled with pesto or dotted with cheese.  But gluten free bread is not the greatest (or easiest!) thing to pull off, and I didn't really want an imitation.  Just as my cravings started telling me that I wanted tomato soup for lunch a memory tugged at me.  Cheesy muffins.  When my son was little and starting on solids I would quite often whip up a quick batch of these gluten free cheese & onion muffins for lunch; they were quick and above all tasty.  Just the thing to answer the NEED for a cheesy savoury bake!

Todays muffins were a bit more sophisticated than those I made for a little boys first tastes (although he loved them at the grand old age of not-quote-four).  The recipe is a simple one:

Goats Cheese and Red Onion Muffins
5 ounces of plain flour (I used Doves Farm gluten free)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
4 fl ounces of milk (I used Rice Dream)
1 pack of Capricorn goats cheese
1 small red onion, diced and fried.

Combine the dry ingredients, then add the wet and beat to a smooth paste (its quite a runny mixture).  Add the cheese and onions and stir to ensure they're evenly spread through the mixture.  Divide between 6 muffin cases and bake at GM6 for about 20-25 minutes.

Picture to follow once I've worked out why it won't upload!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Lentil soup with chickpea dumplings

Sometimes you've just got to have dumplings.  Yes, another day and another craving for comfort food - at least today I can admit the cause of the cravings is that I am 12 weeks pregnant :)  So yes, that's why the diet has been abandoned and my creativity in the kitchen took a bit of a dip whilst I was in the throes of morning sickness!  I'm now coming out the other side, but craving the stodgy stuff that would do nothing but pile on the weight.  So I decided to see if I could come up with a lower carb, wheat free equivalent to dumplings.  I was slightly hampered by not having any veggie suet in the house but it worked fine with regular margerine.

The soup is my 'whatevers in the fridge that needs eating + lentils' recipe; today we had two bunches of salad onions, carrots, celery and a green pepper which were fried in olive oil with a little garlic.  When they're starting to brown add a cup of red lentils and cover with stock then simmer for 20 minutes or so until the veggies are tender and the lentils are mushed.

Chickpea Dumplings
4 ounces of gram flour
2 ounces of veggie margerine
1/4 cup of rice milk
1/2 tsp of baking powder

Put the gram flour, baking powder and marg into a bowl and mix with your fingers until you get a breadcrumby texture.  Add enough of the rice milk to make a soft dough.  Spoon this onto the top of your cooked stew, cover with a lid and let simmer for another 20 minutes or so until the dumplings are puffy and solid.


Friday, 27 August 2010

Gluten Free, Vegetarian Toad in the Hole

Because of my dietry quirks, I sometimes end up making a dish with ingredients that are so far removed from the original that you wonder if you can really call it the same thing.  But tonight I really wanted to eat toad in the hole.  I craved the soft stodginess of the middle and crisp edges of the outside.  The salty flavours in the egginess of the batter.  Now I have made veggetarian toad in the hall quite succesfuly with Quorn sausages before, but that wasn't what I wanted tonight.  No.  Tonight I wanted roasted veggies.

I started with a past its best aubergine, half a butternut squash, some almost at the end of their useful life mushrooms, a few cherry tomatoes and a couple of onions that were chopped into small pieces, tossed in rosemary infused olive oil and then roasted for 30-40 minutes at GM7.  Whilst that was cooking I whipped up a batch of this Gluten Free Popover (US term for Yorkshire puddings) batter which I've used in the past.  Combined the two in a large baking dish, back in the oven at GM8 for 15 minutes, and then down to GM4 for another 10.  Meantime I whipped up a little batch of onion gravy to go with it - although my SO declared that the toad was better without as you got the full flavours of the veggies.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Blackberry bounty

The boys had been out blackberrying, and come back with a container full of the glistening, beautifully ripe and sweet fruit.  We still have some of last years epic Blackberry & Apple Jam so didn't need to make any more of that, and I've had a hankering to try making my own cordial for a while, so I looked for a recipe to do just that.  Most of the recipes I found asked you to soak the blackberries in vinegar for a week before making the cordial and I wasn't patient enough for that, so I used this one from the Independant although I'm not sure it shouldn't have been blackcurrant rather than blackberry!  It was simplicity itself to make, just simmering up the blackberries with sugar and water, and then straining it.  The resulting cordial was full of blackberry flavour and has gone down really well with everyone I shared it with.  I made 2 litres, and we're almost through that in just over a week!

There were a few blackberries left and I had a real hankering for a cupcake that captured that blackberry crumble and custard flavour.  In my mind I could envision soft yellow vanilla fragranced sponge swirled with blackberry goodness and after a little thinking I decided that my best shot at creating the effect was to use piping bags to swirl the two mixtures together in the muffin cases.

In practice this didn't quite work out how I'd hoped, and I could have got the same effect by adding alternate spoonfuls of mixture like a chocolate marble cake.  The end result were beautiful looking, amazingly fragranced and really delicious.  The balance of vanilla and blackberry created that perfect 'crumble and custard' flavour that I was aiming for.

Blackberry & Vanilla Cupcakes (makes 6)
4 ounces of butter
4 ounces of self-raising flour
3 ounces of sugar (I used light muscovado)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
About handful of blackberries, pureed and strained.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl, then add the flour and eggs and beat until well mixed.  Divide the mixture into to parts, add the vanilla extract to one half and the blackberries to the other half.  Combine in the cake cases, then bake at Gas Mark 4 until golden.  Enjoy!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes.

I promise, I do bake other things than cupcakes.  It's just that for a variety of reasons I haven't been too creative in the kitchen lately when it comes to the savouries and I've been reserving my creative juices for baking for events which generally means cupcakes.

First up, here are some vanilla cupcakes, topped with a white chocolate buttercream and Yorkshire Roses made from modelling chocolate that I whipped up for Yorkshire Day at our village hall.

The recipe for the buttercream was 280g each of butter and icing sugar combined, then 200g of melted white chocolate poured in.  I found this was a bit thin, and would have thickened it up a bit with some more sugar if I wasn't out of time.  The flavour was great though, very creamy!

Next up is a scarecrow cupcake cake.  My mother in law has bought Hello, Cupcake! and What's New, Cupcake?  and I think I found this design in the latter of the two and decided I wanted to try it out for Lammas.  We made it a family affair, my 3 year old baked the cakes, and we all decorated them together.  Lovely to be able to cook together and make something in honour of the harvest.

We made a slight adaptation in that I didn't use shredded wheat or crackers to mae the 'straw' and hate but instead used the modelling chocolate again.  I pushed it through a sieve to get the straw effect and used old fashioned modelling techniques to make the rest.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Alice in Wonderland cupcakes and gooseberry tarts

First things first!  Here are the toppers that I made with the modelling chocolate I blogged about recently.  Really pleased with them!  They are coconut lime cupcakes, with a coconut buttercream.  I sprinkled them with decorators sugar and edible glitter, then added silver & green dragees to match the wedding theme and finally the white chocolate toppers.  They looked great, tasted wonderful and garnered me many compliments.  They made an amazing display at the wedding together with some fantastic cupcakes from other bakers, a very eclectic and tasty mix!

Next, its the height of summer and the garden is producing its treats for us; this week we harvested gooseberries.   Plenty of them but tiny!  So it seemed only fitting to make them into miniature tarts.  I lined my mini-muffin tin with sweet shortcrust and baked them blind for about 10 minutes.  Spooned in a little quark mixed with an egg yolk and some more sugar and topped with gooseberries.  They baked for about twenty minutes until they were golden and delicious.

Biting into them, they were the perfect combination of tart gooseberries, sweet pastry with the quarky filling just bridging the gap between the two.  Delicious!  If you don't have quark then creme freche would do the same job.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Prizes and chocolate clay

Remember back in April I was joint winner at Home Baked's monthly competition? Here's the badge to prove it :)

It's been a while since I posted, mostly due to the fact that I've been dieting, which of course means far less baking. I've been following an adapted version of the Dukan Diet, and so far its working well for me - half a stone lighter!  There was also the small matter of being cookerless for a few days due to a grillpan fire!  However, with a few big occasions coming up I've been thinking cakes.  I'm on a mission to decorate cakes in things that people will eat; much as I love what you can do with modelled fondant, I don't like the taste of the stuff.  Whilst enjoying SeriousCakes videos on YouTube I came across Candy Clay (also known as chocolate clay or modelling chocolate) and decided I wanted to have a go.

It's ridiculously easy to make; melt 10 ounces of chocolate in a double boiler and when its all melted remove from the heat and add 4 ounces of glucose syrup.  Mix until it starts to seize and then put into a baking tray lined with wax paper or clingfilm and leave to set for 24 hours.  After that time you get a fairly solid mass, but break bits off and warm them in your hands and you have a pliable chocolate dough.  Make it with white chocolate, as I did, and you can colour it with food colouring to make all sort of shapes and colours.  As a rank amateur I've made some cupcake toppers for a wedding next weekend that I think are pretty amazing!  I will post pictures after the event, I don't want to spoil the surprise for the bride!