Friday, 30 May 2014

Almondy Sundae

We have long been fans of Almondy frozen 'cakes'... and the Toblerone version is a particular favourite.  Having seen a number of tweets from Almondy, tempting us with their fare, we decided to give our own twist to a gluten free Sundae.

The ingredients we used to 'assemble' the dessert were - Almondy Toblerone (one slice), Swedish Glace Vanilla Ice, mini marshmallows, chocolate buttons (and chocolate sauce or cream can be used too).

A couple of small scoops of the vanilla ice were placed in each bowl.

A slice of the Almondy cake was chopped into three, then cut into small pieces which were added to the bowl.
Next, some mini marshmallows were sprinkled over...

... before adding the giant chocolate buttons (chocolate sprinkles, stars or curls could also be used).
Adding the Eskal Wafer Rolls (and a drizzle of chocolate sauce or dollop of cream, if you like) and our speedy dessert was ready.
We have been trying to get Ocado to stock Almondy as, for us, it's the easiest way to get our frozen goods delivered.  No news on this yet... but the request(s) have been made!  All the other items used to make this dessert came from Ocado so to be able to buy a 'bundle' of all these ingredients would be FAB...

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Latest Gluten Free finds at Marks and Spencer

Finally, at Marks and Spencer, we found an almost full display of Gluten Free (or Made without Wheat) products.  The empty spaces should have contained baguette and fruit scones.  We would have liked to try the baguette very much as we don't make bread. Ever.  Scones we makes lots so that's not such a missed item in our grocery shop. 
It was GREAT to see that someone has listened and realised those on restricted diets also have birthdays!  A Celebration Cake - Extremely Chocolatey - covered in chocolate curls and decorated with a starburst.  Pricey at £10 but nice if the Birthday girl is the main cook (hint, hint Sous Chef J)...

Other cakes on offer were Coffee and Walnut (new), Carrot and Walnut (new), Victoria Sponge, Chocolate Loaf and Rich Fruit Loaf.

Having looked at the 'ambient' food offerings, we went on the hunt for other Gluten Free items... and spotted this three pack of mini meringues - not labelled with the gluten free symbol but the allergy advice does not highlight gluten in the ingredients.  Also, having checked online here, the item is listed in the Marks and Spencer 'do not contain gluten' listing... of course, you still need to check ingredients on the product as 'recipes change'... but it's a good starting point.

The meat section revealed a couple of 'The Grill' range marked with the Gluten Free symbol. 

Sausages are a usual 'staple' purchase for us as many (perhaps all?) uncooked are Gluten Free... but beware, the cooked, lunch/snack ones are NOT?  How? Why? Daft, if you ask us.... there are few enough items to choose from in the takeaway/food to go/lunch snacks that are Gluten Free that it seems odd not to sell the cooked version of the Gluten Free sausages.  There is more good news though - we did find Gluten Free Scotch Eggs ... in the picnic section.

The other day we tweeted about the numerous Gluten Free finds in the Food to Order catalogue - even containing a dessert (large portion sized version of their hot chocolate fudge pudding).  Here's a link to the online offering of Gluten Free items it contains.  There are Celebration Cakes and Wedding Cakes as well as crumpets and meats... but, oddly, NOT the Gluten Free Mini Chicken Kievs Sous Chef J had been so pleased to find in the paper catalogue.  Similarly, the belly pork I so liked at Christmas is not showing up online - I do hope that, if we place an order from the catalogue, these are still available...

... as ever, it seems to be that Reliability of Availability is key.  It is really frustrating to know products DO exist (in some stores) but they are difficult to purchase... and, PLEASE, Marks and Spencer, IMPROVE your offerings at roadside Simply Food stores!  We find the Gluten Free range in railway stations is, usually, pretty reliable but you seem to think we don't go by road... we need to know if we see your store we can buy food we can eat.  Like these Caramel Pecan Crunch Bars which Sous Chef J loves.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Kabuto Gluten Free Noodles

When we heard about the gluten free pots of @KabutoNoodles on twitter and were offered some to try, we were keen to see what they were like.

The parcel arrived and there were three pots each of Miso and Chicken noodles. 

Sous Chef J decided we'd try the Miso pot first...
...opening the pot, there looked to be a small portion of rice noodles and we topped up the container as instructed.

After stirring well (we recommend using a fork for this), the foil lid was placed back over and the noodles were left to 'brew'...

...three minutes later, we decanted the now-much-bigger noodles into our bowls and gave them a try.
 As we're fond of saying here "actions speak louder than words..." so this pic of Sous Chef J's bowl (yes, he did use a fork!) shows what he thought of the noodles.  

There were plenty of noodles and the miso was very tasty.

A pot of Kabuto Noodles made a great take to work lunch for B... and as they're easy to store, they're a handy 'just in case' addition for us too.

At the moment, Ocado stock the gluten free noodles (£1.99 a pot), as do Whole Foods London.   Also, independent stores are stocking the noodles...

We did look for the noodles in the supermarket but our local Sainsburys only stocked the gluten-containing Kabuto Noodle pots (so beware when looking in stores)... but, perhaps one day soon, the Gluten Free pots will also be stocked?!

Disclosure - we were sent a box of noodle pots to try.  We were not required to write a blogpost and all the opinions are our own.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Almond Roulade with Lemon and Lime Curd Cream

We saw a recipe for an Almond Roulade in the Waitrose Weekend paper (8 May 2014) and, having made our own Lemon and Lime Curd recently, decided to give it a go.

It was surprisingly easy to make the roulade.  Just a few ingredients were required -
4 eggs (separated)
100g ground almonds
100g caster sugar

Firstly, the egg yolks and sugar were mixed well (we used a hand mixer) until the mix was light in colour and 'strandy whisk tracks' could be seen when the beaters were removed.

Secondly, the almonds were folded into the egg/sugar mix swiftly.

Finally, the egg whites were beaten to soft peak and rapidly (but gently) mixed through the almond/egg/sugar.

This was then carefully turned out into a lined swiss roll tin and lightly smoothed before being placed in a warmed oven (180ÂșC) for 11 minutes...
....when it was golden brown and almost firm to the touch.

The roulade was turned out onto a sugared piece of baking parchment and the backing parchment was removed.  We were delighted at how well the parchment came away from the cake.

After cooling completely, the lemon and lime curd was spread over the cake, leaving a gap around the edges.  Then 200ml of cream (which had been ably whipped by Sous Chef J) was carefully spread across (this is a little tricky and next time we'll make sure the cream is a little less stiffly whipped).

Lastly, the roulade was rolled up from a short end, placed in a carry case and put in the fridge to chill.

After chilling, the top was dusted with icing sugar before the roulade was sliced ready to be served.
The Waitrose recipe states it serves 6-8 but, with our slices (about 1cm thick) we think it could stretch to 12 helpings.  A smaller helping reduces the calories per slice... and makes the roulade last longer.

Sous Chef J said "the only downside is that it's eaten too easily" which, coming from a 'discerning' eater (fussy) is praise indeed!

We think this is a great naturally Gluten Free dessert that isn't meringue, fruit or chocolate... give it a try, it's easier than you think.  It could easily be made into a Swiss roll if you wanted to make a speedy pud with readymade jam and then it would be fat free and dairy free too... and those who aren't on special diets would have no idea!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Lemon and Lime Curd

We spotted some nets of lemons and limes that were reduced when we were at the supermarket during the week... and, being of a thrifty persuasion, decided to buy them to have a go at making curd.

Looking for a suitable recipe, we were confronted with all sorts of 'fussy' ones that, frankly, we just don't have the time or inclination for.  So we adapted an old recipe from a card in my recipe stash and were able to make use of the 4 eggs we had as well.

The ingredients we used were - 

3 lemons, zested (and juice of 2)
3 limes, zested and juiced
4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
135g unsalted butter, cubed
165g granulated sugar

We zested and juiced all the limes - zested all the lemons but only used the juice of two of them.

All the ingredients were placed in a heatproof bowl over a pan of just-simmering water... take care NOT to let the water touch the bowl or the egg will scramble.  Stir.

We made sure to keep the water in the pan at a low heat and stirred the ingredients until first the butter melted and then the sugar dissolved.  Keep stirring....

Finally, the curd mix was thick enough to cover the back of our wooden spoon.

The curd was poured (messily) into sterilised jars... we had done this by pouring boiling water, right up to the brim, and leaving them whilst the curd was cooking.

From the ingredients we used, we made about 700ml of curd.
Sous Chef J was on hand to assist with post-jar-filling 'tidying up'... and a fine job he did of it too!

The recipe we adapted says the curd will keep in the fridge for up to a month but, somehow, don't think ours will last that long...