Saturday, 29 October 2011

Brandy Snaps

Having wondered if Brandy Snaps could be made Gluten Free, I tracked down an old (scrawled on a piece of paper recipe from the depths of my recipe bundles) and found, happily, that there is very little flour required.   A little research amongst other foodie/gluten avoiders led me to believe it was possible to make Gluten Free brandy snaps so we set about our task.

As with many of the recipes we try, there were very few ingredients (in this case, just six) and so the required items were gathered and weighed... although we only made half the quantity listed in this recipe.  For a change, Sous Chef J and I made just one substitution in the recipe and this was to use Dove's Farm Gluten and Wheat free Plain White flour.

In a pan, we heated, gently, the sugar, syrup and butter until the sugar had been dissolved... this took about 15 minutes on a low heat.  Then the sifted flour and ginger were added and mixed in. Finally, a quarter of a teaspoon of lemon juice was added and fully combined.

Then four blobs (small amount) of the mix was placed on a silicone sheet which was placed in the pre-heated fan oven (170ºC) for 7-10 minutes. 

 When the snaps were done, they were taken off the baking tray (leaving them on the silicone sheet) to cool slightly before being shaped.  We used a the handle of a silicone brush for the traditional snap shape.

One larger basket was made using a bigger blob of the mix.  Once this was cooked and cooled very slightly, it was dangled over an oiled glass pot... will take some work to sort the technique but you get the idea.

Other baskets were attempted...  we liked our triangular shaped ones and, once they were cooled, some freshly whipped cream and sprinkles were added.
We are delighted at how snappy and tasty these are... really no difference from the gluten containing ones we remember.  They're such a success, we're going to make some for pals this week and hope they like them too.

A lovely Hallowe'en or Bonfire Night treat!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Paprika Pork

We're always keen to make an easy and tasty evening meal and this very simple pork dish fits the bill.

With the ingredients of pork escalopes, paprika, garlic, butter and oil, it's is a meal that can be made in minutes.
The garlic was peeled, sliced and chopped.  It was then combined with the paprika in a glass dish.  The pork escalopes were added and covered in the rub.  (This can be done in advance and the pork left in the fridge until cooking is required).

Having melted a knob of butter in a frying pan together with a dash of sunflower oil, the the escalope was added and cooked over a medium heat.

Once cooked thoroughly, the pork was seasoned and served with chips and peas.

Delicious and quick - just the sort of food we like!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Slow cooker beef

With a busy day ahead, we decided we needed something to cook that was easy, tasty and would be ready at whatever time we were hungry.  So, a slow cooker recipe was called for.  With a small joint of brisket of beef in the fridge, we wondered whether it could be cooked in a slow cooker.  We've done stews in there but never a joint of beef. These are the ingredients we used:-

640g beef brisket
3 onions, peeled and quartered
100ml red wine
salt and pepper
Having cooked chicken pieces in the slow cooker many times, the method used for them was used.  That is, unwrapped the meat, patted it dry, then sealed it in a hot frying pan on all sides before adding it to the pre-warmed slow cooker (this is simply switching the cooker onto high for the time whilst the meat was being sealed.)  Once the meat was sealed and added to the slow cooker, it was surrounded by the onions wedges, seasoned and the red wine was poured in.   

The lid was placed on the cooker and the heat was turned to the low setting.  Then we waited... for 8 hours... when the meat was removed and rested for 20 minutes.

Whilst the meat was resting the juices from the slow cooker were simmered gently to form a sauce for the meat.  Once the vegetables were cooked, the meat was served (it really did just fall apart) and topped with the sauce. Sous Chef J cleared his plate in record time. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Chocolate Cake Creations

Following on from our Great British Bake Off viewing, Sous Chef J had an idea for a chocolate cake creation.  Seeing as we were already making a victoria sponge cake from scratch, we decided to try out a packet of Glebe Farm Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix.  We had the mix, the required eggs and butter so it seemed a good idea to see how we got on.

175g of butter (dairy free margarine can also be used) was melted in a stainless steel bowl over a pan of boiling water.  The bowl was then placed on a tea towel on the work surface.

The cake mix and the three eggs were added, one at a time, whilst the mixture was whisked.  Once fully combined, the mix was divided between a greased baking tray and six mini muffin cases. These were then placed in a pre-heated (170º fan) oven.

Having checked the mini muffins after 10 minutes, it was decided they were "done" so we took them out of the oven left them to cool.  The larger cake was baked for another 10 minutes before being removed to cool for 10 minutes in its tin.  It was then turned out to fully cool.

As Sous Chef J was keen to try another style of small cake making, rounds were cut from the rectangular cake. He chose chocolate hazelnut spread (Sainsbury's own brand worked very well!) as the filling and this was piped onto the bases. The tops were then added and a 'rosette' was the final decoration!

The final offerings were presented very nicely by Sous Chef J... and the mini muffins were frozen, individually, for day out treats.
All in all, the Glebe Farm Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix was easy to use and provided a good outcome for Sous Chef J's creations. 

These have been declared the family birthday cake design of choice as the lack of rise in the gluten free sponge is nicely counterbalance by the small cakelet design!

We've saved all the off cuts of sponge and will be attempting cake pops sometime soon.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Chocolate Brownies

Whilst searching online I came across this recipe which, amazingly, we had all bar one of the ingredients to make.

We substituted walnuts for the pecans in the original recipe so what we had was:-
100g Dark chocolate
100g Unsalted butter (softened)
150g dark soft brown sugar
150g caster sugar
2 eggs (we used large ones)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g ground almonds
50g marshmallows (we used large ones, chopped into 4s)
100g walnut pieces (optional)

The chocolate and butter were melted in a stainless steel mixing bowl over a pan of boiling water.  

Having been mixed and removed from the heat, the sugars were added.  Then the eggs were beaten in one at a time.  By this time, it was quite thick and had the salt and vanilla mixed through before we folded in the almonds.

Finally the walnuts and then the marshmallow pieces were stirred through the mix.

Having prepared the baking tin by lining it with foil and oiling it carefully, the mix was poured into the tin. 

It was time to bake! So the tin was placed in a pre-heated fan oven at 170ºC for 20 minutes, then we tested the centre with a skewer and returned it for another five minutes. 

After this time, it was smelling delicious and we had to be very disciplined to leave the tray to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Finally, it was cool enough to turn out of the tin, carefully remove the foil and cut into pieces.  We halved the traybake, cut one half into 9 and the other into 16.  Tasting by Sous Chef J confirmed it was "very good indeed".
 Being mindful of the need for easy Gluten Free day out treats, we hastily bagged some up to freeze in individual portions....
Well worth the effort although cannot bear to think of the calorific value. Definitely an "eat me as a treat"

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Victory-a sponge cake!

After months of trying to sort out an appointment for a very specific reason for Sous Chef J, today was the day I succeeded. With this and the final of Great British Bake Off in mind, we decided to risk making our version of a special sponge cake.  Having trawled the recipe books we went with this one on the Dove's Farm website.

The ingredients needed were:-

100g softened butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 drops vanilla extract
5ml baking powder (gluten free)
150g gluten free plain flour
45ml milk
First, the butter, sugar and vanilla were creamed together.  Then the eggs were added one at a time. Finally, once the mix was light and fluffy, the baking powder, sifted flour and milk was added.

The mix was then shared between two greased and lined baking tins. These were put in a pre-heated oven (170ºC fan) and the timer set for 15 minutes.  The cakes were ready to be removed after just under 20 minutes when they were placed, in their trays to cool, for 10 minutes before being turned out and left to cool fully. 

Once the sponge was cool, a pastry cutter was used to cut small cakelets out.  This was Sous Chef J's idea - spurred on by what he'd seen in the Great British Bake Off final on Tuesday - as he wanted mini cakes.  He chose the tops and bottoms and covered the base of the cakes in raspberry jam.  He made sure the jam went right to the edges of the sponge base. 

Some butter icing was piped onto the jam before the tops were added.

As a final touch, icing sugar was sprinkled over the top. Yum!

Thanks to Jo, the winner of Great British Bake Off 2011, for giving us the idea.