Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Slow Cooked Choc Chip Scone

We have been trying to manage all our cooking requirements using just a single gas burner and the slow cooker recently.  Many chats around 'surely it must be possible to bake in the slow cooker' were entered into and some research on the internet (mostly US sites where they use crock pots) showed that many people do use slow cookers for baking. 

Using a simple, one bowl recipe for scone mix, we assembled

225g gluten free self raising flour (we used Dove's Farm)
30g caster sugar
55g unsalted butter, broken up
100ml natural yogurt and 50ml water
40g chocolate chips

Having measured the flour, sugar and butter into a bowl it was rubbed together until it resembled breadcrumbs.

Then the yogurt/water was added and mixed until a dough was formed.

The chocolate chips were added and worked into the dough.

The dough was shaped to fit our slow cooker bowl (we have an oval, 3.5l cooker) and had lined it with a parchment cake liner.

Adding the shaped dough to the slow cooker, it was set to high and a tea towel was placed over the bowl before the lid was replaced 
(this was to absorb any condensation from cooking)

After about an hour and a half, the scone was checked to see if it was cooked... we decided to take the lid off at this point and switch off the cooker, leaving the scone inside for a further 15 minutes. 

The scone was then removed (carefully, it's hot!) and allowed to cool before being sliced and eaten with cream.
Definitely a successful bake added to our repertoire.. and it's best eaten on the day it's made.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Chocolate Brownie Christmas Pudding Kit

We were pleased to see a range of different ideas in the Christmas section at Tesco... this #glutenfree Chocolate Brownie Christmas Pudding Kit caught our eye (particularly as it was on offer at £2.50!)
Checking out what was needed to use the kit, it was good to see that it wasn't a huge list of non-standard things.  So, we picked out the pyrex bowl, found the greaseproof paper and weighed out the butter (uses 100g, melted or use dairy free spread) ... before adding it to a large, beaten egg and 20ml water.

These were mixed lightly (we used a fork) and then added to the 'dry' ingredients and thoroughly mixed.

Having greased and lined the 0.5l pyrex pudding bowl, we added the mix and levelled the top.

The brownie pudding was then microwaved... the instructions mention 800W strength but the microwave we were using was only 700W so we lengthened the cooking time.

Once done, the pudding looked (and smelt) pretty good!
Whilst the pudding was being cooked, we made up the icing by adding 2 tsp (10ml) water to the icing sugar and mixed it well (we used a mug for this).

The pudding was allowed to cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before it was turned out onto a plate and the greaseproof paper was removed (easily).

Next, we poured the icing over the top...

 .... and then added the holly sprinkles (a generous portion!) before we dived in to try.

It was a huge success and definitely something we all enjoyed (though our portions served 6 from the kit, not the 8 the packaging mentions)

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Grass Roots Bakery Gluten Free Brown Bread Mix

Having seen quite a lot of posts on twitter about Grass Roots Bakery bread mixes, it was lovely to be able to try a pack thanks to a kind donation from a pal this week.

It's a simple set of additional 'ingredients' for this mix - just needs 250ml tepid water, an egg and a dessertspoonful of oil (we used sunflower but olive is also OK).

First step is to empty the dry mix into a bowl, add the water then the egg and oil. 

Next start to mix - we used our electric hand mixer with the dough hooks but standard beaters would also be fine as the mix aims to produce a stiff batter consistency.

Mixing well, the bread batter soon became like very stiff porridge.  It was then covered with cling film and 'left to prove' (aka placed in the airing cupboard).
After being proved for 40 minutes, the mix was dolloped onto a non-stick baking tray (we did 6 largish spoonfuls and 3 small ones but it's also ok to put in a loaf tin. Having heated the oven (180ºC fan) the rolls were baked for 35-45 minutes (smaller ones were baked for less time) and came out looking impressively large.

Cooling on the tray for 5 minutes, they were transferred to a cooling rack.  Once sufficiently cooled, we tested the crust and it gave a "nice, crisp sound" with "not a hint of a soggy bottom". 

Family verdict is it is a simple to bake bread mix that's a "one bowl job with easy to gather ingredients"... so thumbs up from us 👍

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Bread Rolls made with Bakels Mix

We rarely bake bread ... and only made the foray into the arena last week due to the purchase of a packet of 'bread mix'.  I always find it disappointing that such 'ready to make' items invariably require the addition of numerous ingredients so what they really are is "ready weighed out quantity of gluten free flour mix". The Bakels mix was no different... on closer inspection of the package (and with the benefit of my reading glasses) additional to the mix, we required water (acceptable not to be in pack!), veg oil (same as water) and 7g dried yeast (this is where I struggle... why not have a sachet of yeast in the flour mix? Not everyone has dried yeast in the cupboard)

Gathering the water, oil and yeast, baking began.

The yeast was added to tepid water ... and reacted well, producing lots of nice bubbles (bubbles = active yeast = soft bread)

Next the bread mix was added, then the oil.  Using the electric hand mixer, with dough hooks, the bread was kneaded for 5 minutes in total.

Turning the bread out onto a floured (using GF flour) silicone sheet, it was formed into a large ball and then, because we were baking rolls, divided into eight.

 The bread rolls were put onto an oiled baking tray, covered in oiled cling film and placed in the airing cupboard to rise... they were left a little over an hour.

Having heated the oven to 220ºC, the rolls were baked for 15 minutes, when they were checked (and found to be browning well) They were returned to the oven for another couple of minutes and then removed to be cooled on their baking trays.

Cutting them open when fresh, they were bouncy with a light crust and smelt very appealing.

We'll definitely try these again, when the mix is on offer, and will try adding cheese, seeds and other things to the top of the rolls next time.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Amaretti Biscuits

Looking through this week's Waitrose Weekend paper, we spotted a recipe by Martha Collison for Amaretti Biscuits.  As they contain very few ingredients and are naturally glutenfree, we decided to give them a go.

As usual, it would be too simple to actually follow a recipe... and due to 'ingredient limitations' (only had one egg...) we decided to make a half batch.  This meant we needed to use - 1 egg white, 75g caster sugar, 87.5g ground almonds, a few drops of vanilla bean extract and icing sugar (for dusting).

Using an electric hand mixer, the egg white was beaten to stiff peak consistency.

The caster sugar was added in thirds and thoroughly combined.

Next the almonds were also added in thirds and mixed in well using a silicone spatula.
Finally, a few drops of almond bean extract were added and mixed through well.

The mix was then divided into (roughly) 10g balls and rolled in icing sugar before being put on a silicone sheet covered baking tray.

Baking the biscuits in a pre-heated oven (170ºC) for 10 minutes, they were checked to see if they had expanded and turned a light golden shade... they were returned to the oven for another couple of minutes before being removed and allowed to cool completely.

The biscuits were lovely freshly baked... but seem even more delicious the next day (having been stored in an airtight container overnight) as they have a crisp outer and soft, gooey centre. Very tasty indeed... and will be added to the 'must bake regularly' list!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Welsh Cakes

My Granny was Welsh, she made great Welsh Cakes... and I remember making them with her.   However, Welsh Cakes are usually made on a griddle, a flat iron plate, which I don't have.  Having a new 'ceramic non-stick' frying pan, we needed a recipe to try out its non-stick properties and Welsh Cakes fitted the bill nicely.

I don't have my Granny's recipe but I do think the one I made up is pretty close... apart from using gluten free flour (which I don't think existed back in Granny's day!)

The ingredients we used were:-

225g self raising flour  (we used Dove's Farm gluten free)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice
110g butter (Granny used to use lard)
75g caster sugar
75g mixed currants
1 large egg beaten

Using a bowl, we mixed the flour, salt, spice and butter.  We used a hand balloon whisk to get a breadcrumb-like texture (and this also 'saves' my ailing fiingers from too much effort)

Next the sugar and currants were added and mixed through.

Finally the beaten egg was added.  At this point, the mix it may be a bit dry still, so if needed, use a little buttermilk or yogurt, to make the dough soft enough to be able to brought together (we did add yogurt to ours).

Once the dough came together and wasn't too wet or dry.  We lightly pressed it out, then rolled to about 5-7mm thick.  The dough was then cut in 5cm rounds.

Heating the pan, the cakes were cooked - you can use a heated griddle, lightly buttered frying pan, or as we did in a ceramic coated frying pan (it worked very well.

Cooking till browned on one side, the cakes were flipped/turned and cooked on the other side (about 3 mins a side... but depends on heat, thickness and the level of 'cook' you're aiming for).

Once cooked on both sides, the cakes were removed, placed on a plate and drizzled lightly with caster sugar.

Eaten warm, they were delicious.  They were also very tasty with a cup of tea and, surprisingly, kept well in an airtight container.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Flat Bread

Having bought a ceramic frying pan (finally convinced because a/ J can't stand the smell from 'traditional' non-stick coatings, b/ pal had been raving about the wonders of ceramic coated pans, c/ it was on offer and below £10 and d/ it was YELLOW!)  we've been trying out its thermal transfer prowess, non-stickability and easy cleaning.  Also, we've been going to make a flatbread for, decided to give it a go (to accompany tonight's Bean and Pepper Chilli).

Ingredients -

200g self raising flour (we used Dove's Farm #glutenfree)
150ml plain yogurt/water mix (we used about half and half, mixed in a jug)
1 Tablespoon oil (we used olive oil)

This is the simplest of 'bakes'. 

The flour was weighed into a mixing bowl.

The wet ingredients were added and mixed through thoroughly using a silicone spatula (making sure to incorporate all the flour from the bottom of the bowl)  [a little more liquid MAY be needed to allow the dough to form... add small amounts of cold water, if so...]

Next we divided the dough into three 120g balls (because there are three of us... but you could halve the dough or quarter it... it's up to you and how you do this will depend on the size of the breads you make in the end). 

Using a silicone sheet and a dusting of flour, the dough balls were then rolled out into roughly cirular shapes, about 5mm thick. 

Each dough circle was cooked in a pre-heated DRY ceramic frying pan for 3-4 mins on each side (the time needed to cook your breads will depend on the thickness of the dough and the temperature of your pan... keep an eye on them and SET THE TIMER!)  The breads is done when the underside is starting to turn golden brown in places and holds together when you lift them carefully with a spatula... at which point we flipped the bread over and repeated cooking on the other side.

Once cooked the breads were kept warm in a covered dish until all three were ready to be served.

These would be good brushed with butter, or spread with garlic butter, but we ate them plain with our chilli dish. 
We'll definitely make these again because they were warm, moist and Sous Chef J polished his flatbread off before starting on the chilli!