Coffee & Walnut Muffins

Coffee Muffins

I bought some Trex a LONG while ago to use in baking but it had languished, unloved, in the fridge, for quite some time until I came across this recipe over on the Trex website. Of course that isn’t a gluten free recipe but I find that when I adapt a non-GF recipe, Doves Farm flour seems to work most times as an almost exact replacement.  I used a handheld mixer because I couldn’t get the mixture smooth enough, but it looked pretty good once I’d done:

Mixture

I didn’t have two 6 inch cake tins to make the cakes so decided to make muffins instead. Other than swapping the flour, I added an extra tablespoon of the coffee mixture (an espresso made with a Nespresso coffee & vanilla flavoured pod) as gluten free flours usually need a little bit more liquid; on this occasion I also added some chopped walnuts.

 

 

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Recipe Test: Gluten Free Triple Herb Overnight Dinner Rolls

Photo of bread roll

Long time no post! Shortly after my last post my husband became seriously ill so normal life has been put on hold for a while. Things are finally on the up but it’s going to be a long while before we’re back to normal again.

Anyway, yesterday this recipe for Triple Herb Overnight Dinner Rolls caught my eye because I liked the mix of flours it contained, and the sourdough-esque long, overnight rise appealed to me, so I could have a fresh roll with some bacon this morning.  Or not . . . . a word to the wise: when you’re reading a recipe, if there are lots of comments about how runny the batter is – take heed! The amount of milk stated is WAY too much. I added an extra half cup of flour (buckwheat for a bit of variety) but it was still too runny. I should have added even more flour but I didn’t, so cutting a cross into the dough was never going to happen! Despite my reservations about the batter I put them in the fridge overnight and they rose reasonably well, but removing the oiled cling film from the top also removed some of the still-quite-runny batter.

You can see in the photo above that they’re a little bit overcooked on the outside because I converted the oven temperature incorrectly for my gas cooker. Oops! The texture of the bread is great, very sourdough-like but the batter spilled over the top of the muffin pan so the rolls came out like flowerpots!

The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of salt and I think this, also, is too much. I enjoy salty food but eat bacon with these? No thanks! I left out the herbs as I prefer a plain roll, perhaps the herbs would have made them taste less salty?

I would try making these again, but I would reduce the liquid and salt by half, only adding more liquid if I needed to.

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Gadget Test: Cuisinart Sandwich and Waffle Maker

I love gadgets of any sort, but crafting & cooking gadgets in particular. Yesterday I bought the Cuisinart Sandwich and Waffle Maker which was on offer at Costco, so today I decided to have a go at the gluten free waffle recipe from the book. The only substitution I made was Almond Dream milk instead of skimmed milk to make the waffles dairy free.

Close up of wafflesThe waffle maker was really easy to use; it cooks two waffles at a time and they only take 3 or 4 minutes to cook. The bottom plate cooks the underside of the waffles more quickly than the top so you need to be careful they don’t burn. The recipe made the exact quantity it was supposed to make (is it me, but recipes often don’t make the quantity they’re supposed to?), and what’s more, they tasted delicious with a little maple syrup & some blueberries!

Waffles and syrup

Sage Scraper Mixer Pro Test – Raspberry Cupcakes

Raspberry Cupcakes

For a long time now I’ve wanted to buy the Sage Scraper Mixer Pro; yesterday, I noticed it was on offer in Lakeland so I finally got my wish! This morning I put it to the test on one of the starter recipes included in the instruction leaflet for Raspberry Cupcakes. As I always bake gluten free (for me) and dairy free (for my son), I used Doves Farm Self Raising Flour, Pure Sunflower Spread and plain rice milk for the equivalents in the recipe. Not that the flour is listed in the ingredients, they somehow managed to miss that out – nice one Sage! I only realised this as I was already part way through making the cakes (note to self: read the recipe first!) so I looked on the Sage website, thought I’d found the recipe but then realised that the quantity of sugar was different;-)  Hey ho, too late by then.

The scraper mixer is designed to prevent you needing to scrape the sides of the bowl down, and I found that worked really well, although it did seem to take longer than the recipe stated to reach the stage where the sugar had melted. However, this may be because I wasn’t using butter. This was the mixture after the Pure & sugar had been creamed. I  hadn’t needed to scrape the sides down at all:

Creamed mixture

And this was the finished mixture, which came together really quickly:

Cupcake mixture

I found they took about 25 minutes in the oven, but as you can see they rose really well & they taste delicious!

Cupcakes on rack

Experiments with non-GF Sourdough

A few weeks ago I read that some people with gluten intolerance are able to eat sourdough bread without suffering the usual consequences. So what else could I do but experiment? My own attempts at making a sourdough starter were a dismal failure but a friend came to the rescue with some of his starter, a recipe & lots of helpful advice.

The key to making the bread suitable for the gluten intolerants among us is a long “bulk fermentation” time. My friend’s recipe had a ferment time of “only” 5 or so hours; clearly this wasn’t long enough, as a few hours after eating a small-ish slice of it – well, I’ll spare you the details!  It was, however, very tasty, and popular with the men of the house. It looked delicious too:

sourdough1

So I spent hours scouring the internet for a recipe which was suitable for extended bulk fermentation, and came across this one which looked like it was fairly adaptable, so adapt it I did. After leaving the bread to rise on the kitchen worktop for several hours, I put it in the fridge (covered in cling film) for about 30 hours, then put it straight into a Le Creuset cast iron pot and baked it as per the instructions. I missed out the second rise because I didn’t have time.

The resulting loaf looked superb, as you can see:

sourdough2

but I have to say the texture is quite heavy, possibly due to missing out the second rise, and the taste is nowhere near as good as the first loaf. Popular wisdom says the sour flavour gets stronger over time, but that isn’t borne out by my experiment. It remains to be seen whether I suffer any ill-effects, having only eaten some of it within the last 5 minutes – watch this space!! Edited to add: Sadly, it seems as though sourdough & me are not to be – although digestive issues were minor, I ended up with aching joints, extreme tiredness, a flare-up of eczema and a mysterious rash on my hip which I haven’t had for ages! Back to the drawing board.

sourdough3

GF Pancakes

pancakes2

 

The last few weeks have been crazy, so baking hasn’t been top of my priority list for quite some time. But an unusually lazy Sunday morning after a late night made me crave pancakes, and this recipe is loosely based on several that I’ve seen around the internet.

  • 130g* Doves Farm GF plain flour
  • 25g sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 230ml milk*
  • 1 egg
  • 40ml rice bran oil

*You can use almond or rice milk if you can’t tolerate cows’ milk. If you use rice milk, as I did, this quantity of flour makes for a very runny mix. I suggest adding maybe another 10-20g of flour to give a better consistency.

Most recipes tell you to mix the dry ingredients in one bowl & the wet in another, then combine the two. I can’t quite see the point in creating extra washing up so I sit the bowl on my add & weigh scales, put the dry ingredients in the bowl first then carefully add the wet ingredients one by one. Finally I used a small whisk to ensure a lump-free consistency. The end result was a pretty thin mix:

pancakes1

Time to try out the new pancake pan my father-in-law treated me to, which worked beautifully without needing much oil. This recipe was meant to be for what we Brits call Scotch pancakes which are quite thick, but the rice milk meant they turned out more like crepes:

pancakes3

 

Still, they were delicious smothered in maple syrup with a few raspberries so I could kid myself I was being healthy!

Gluten Free Lemon & Blueberry Loaf

lemon_blue2

 

Okay, confession time: I left this in the oven just a little bit too long while I was getting ready to go out so I hastily made a lemon icing to drizzle over the top & the sugar didn’t dissolve! Hence the strange-looking white blobs on the top. But my colleagues on the school’s governing body, who this was made for, declared it delicious – so much so that I wasn’t able to get any photos of it sliced.

This is my own recipe, adapted from many others out on the internet to make it gluten & dairy free. It takes about an hour from start to finish. Don’t let the long ingredients list put you off, I don’t do difficult!

Ingredients:
175g Pure Sunflower spread
100g golden caster sugar
5g powdered Stevia
2 eggs
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp lemon essence
100g ground almonds
100g fine cornmeal/polenta
50g Doves Farm gluten free plain flour + extra for blueberries
½ tsp gluten free baking powder
50g blueberries

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180°C, 350°F. Line a 2lb loaf tin (9”x5”) with parchment or a loaf tin liner.

Cream the sunflower spread, sugar & Stevia until light & fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, lemon juice, rind & essence. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a little curdled at this stage, it sorts itself out in the next stage.

Fold in the almonds, cornmeal, flour & baking powder, making sure it’s all mixed together well.

Sprinkle a little extra flour over the blueberries – this helps to stop them sinking – and gently fold them into the mixture.

Carefully tip the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and level the surface.

Bake for about 50 minutes until a skewer through the centre comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing & placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Enjoy!

A pdf version of this recipe is available here: Lemon_Blueberry_Loaf.