Sunday, 29 April 2012

Avocado and Egg on toast

Struck by how many of our posts involve chocolate we decided to try to find some of the (many) recipes we have that don't contain the stuff!  Breakfast dishes seemed a good place to start and I was reminded of a lovely, simple dish we used to have a while back.

The ingredients were gathered together - avocado (ripe), slice of Genius gluten free seeded bread and one egg.

Then, whilst the bread was being toasted, the avocado was mashed and the egg was fried.

Once the avocado was mashed, it was spread on the warm slice of toast.

After covering the toast with the avocado, the fried egg was added and our healthy, quick and tasty snack was ready to eat.
If you want to make this a more 'hearty' meal, then adding some fried bacon works very well indeed!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Almond Fruit Cake

This is a recipe from when we started on the GAPS Diet 6+ years ago. There have been a number of 'adjustments' we've made over the years but the following is what we started out with!

Almond fruit cake
Makes 2, 7" round cakes.

6 large eggs
0.75kg Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped finely in food processor (can also use other squash or courgette)
1 Tablespoon coconut oil - add to chopped butternut squash and blitz for a short time in processor
Dried fruit (any combination)
Ground Almonds - enough to make a porridge like consistency (amount needed will depend on freshness of eggs)
Flaked Almonds - handful (as topping)

Pre-heat oven to 170-180C.

1. Whisk eggs well.
2. Add Butternut squash mixture to eggs and mix thoroughly.
3. Add sufficient ground almonds so mixture has a porridge-like consistency.
4. Line cake tins and sprinkle bases with dried fruit.
5. Pour in cake mix and then top with flaked almonds.
6. Bake for 30-45 minutes until skewer inserted in middle comes out clean.
7. Allow to cool and store in airtight container in fridge or freezer.

Making it today, however, we used 3 extra large eggs, added about 100g of sultanas and 7 Tablespoons of ground almonds.  Also, we baked the cake in one, lined, 8" round springform baking tin.

To start, the butternut squash was peeled and chopped roughly before being placed in the large bowl of our Braun multiquick and whizzed for a few minutes... ending with evenly sized pieces.  The blitzed butternut squash then had the coconut oil added to it, mixed through and then this was all added to the whisked eggs.  

After mixing the butternut squash and the eggs together, ground almonds were then incorporated until the mix was a little firmer and at this point the sultanas were added.  Next, the mix was put in the lined baking tin and some flaked almonds were sprinkled on top.  

Finally, the cake was put in a preheated (170ºC) oven and baked for 40 minutes. To test it was cooked, a knife was inserted and, as it came out clean, the cake was removed from the oven and left to cool in the tin.

This cake cuts well once cool, can be frozen if needed and is good with creme fraiche as a pudding.

Give it a go... and let us know what you think!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Quick Mix Chocolate Cake & Icing

This is a recipe that my family have used for years.  My mother and grandmother both made this for me and I've passed it onto Sous Chef J as a 'favourite' cake.  Seeing as being on a gluten free regime is relatively new in the life of the recipe we've only just tried it as a gluten free option.  It's been baked many, many times with gluten containing flour so, if you're not avoiding gluten do like I did in the days before going gluten free, and make two at a time; eating one and freezing one.

5 oz SR flour plus 1 level tsp baking powder (or 5oz Plain flour plus 2½level tsp) - these days we usually use Dove's Farm Gluten Free flour although making this cake we used Orgran.
¼ level tsp salt
1 oz cocoa
4½ oz caster sugar
3½ oz soft margarine
(we used Pure)
2 eggs
4 Tbsp milk
(we used almond milk)

Our family recipe says "Sift dry ingredients together.
Mix in margarine
Beat the eggs and add the milk to them.
Mix all ingredients thoroughly until smooth and creamy.
Turn into tins - 2 x 6" greased and lined ( or I use 1x8")
Cook in moderate oven (350F, 160C, Gas 6) for 30-45 mins.
Turn out to cool."  

My mother used to make hers in her trusty Kenwood Chef (which I remember had its own cupboard stand-type thing that would swing up, into place and was a proficient finger catcher if you happened to have a stray digit in the way!)  No such luck here... we don't have a stand mixer. So improvised using my braun multiquick hand processor.

What we did was to cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl.

Then we added the dried ingredients and lightly beaten eggs and whizzed them a bit.... 
 ... this was then added to two greased and lined 6" baking trays (when making this with gluten containing flour, I used to use one 8", deep, baking tin, cook for longer and cut in half when cooled - it won't work with gluten free flour.)  The mix was carefully 'encouraged' to cover the whole tin, before being placed in a 160ºC oven for 30 minutes.

This is what the cooked, cooling cakes looked like.

Whilst the cakes cooled properly, we made another long-standing recipe - very simple (as ever) and delicious too...

Recipe is as follows:-

Chocolate Fudge Icing

1½ oz soft margarine (we used Pure dairy free)
3 Tbsp Milk (we used rice or almond milk)
8 oz icing sugar
1 oz cocoa

Heat the milk and margarine gently in a pan until well mixed.
Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl and add the cooled milk mixture.
Mix thoroughly until thick and creamy. 

We followed the recipe exactly and ended up with a fudgey icing, half of which was spread on one cake, the other cake was placed on top and the remainder of the icing use to 'decorate' the top.

Here's a slice to show how it looked when cooked - it didn't last long!

Incidentally, the cake fork is courtesy of Sous Chef J - he thinks it makes the cake look more 'fine dining'... can't say I agree but it was useful to keep his chocolatey face mess to a minimum.

This cake would be fab to make in a stand mixer... far less work than the way we did it. Perhaps, one day, we'll have the space and funds to justify us getting one?!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Minced Beef Surprise

Sous Chef J has a problem with chewing and swallowing some textures of food.  Luckily, we have discovered that slow cooking seems to make meat far more palatable so we're researching different recipes and ingredient combinations.  Today's meat randomly selected from the freezer was some beef mince.

Having discussed the options with Sous Chef J, he decided to opt for a 'surprise' meal.  So we chopped a couple of onions and carrots quite finely.  The onions were then sweated in a little sunflower oil over a medium heat until they had started to turn translucent.  At this point a good squeeze of tomato puree was added, mixed through and cooked on a low heat for about ten minutes.  Next the beef mince was added to the pan and browned.  Then the chopped carrots and a carton of chopped tomatoes were added to the pan.  This was stirred thoroughly and heated through.  Finally, the whole lot was added to a pre-warmed slow cooker (on high).  It was covered and left to start the cooking process on high for about an hour, then it was turned down to low and left until it was time to be served.

The slow cooked Minced Beef Surprise was served with spicy potato wedges, steamed broccoli and cauliflower and peas.  Sous Chef J decided the surprise was that he liked it!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Almond Pancakes

To make about 24 small pancakes (like blinis)

2 medium eggs beaten with a whisk (today we used one very large egg)
dash of cold water - whisked in
Ground almonds
butter for frying

Add ground almonds to egg/water mixture until the consistency resembles thick batter.
Heat the butter in a frying pan (I use a stainless steel pan) then add desertspoons of pancake mix - the butter should sizzle when the pancakes are added (or they will stick).  The pancakes are about an inch and a half in diameter.  Cook until bubbling and then flip to cook the other side.

A variation is to add sultanas/raisins to the batter mix prior to cooking.  Also, grated apple can be added to the batter.

Serve whilst warm with runny honey.

Freeze any uneaten pancakes - they freeze very well and are useful for days when you’re short of time.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Individual Chocolate Cheesecakes

When Sous Chef J saw Cadbury's Philadelphia cream cheese packs in the chiller cabinet at the supermarker he thought he "might like to try it".  So, a pack was bought.  It's been in the fridge a while and, in an attempt to use it up, we decided to make our own mini-cheesecakes.

Gathering together the ingredients didn't take long and in a short time Sous Chef J was ready to get started on the day's mission to create.  We used 10 gluten free digestives, a knob of butter and a pot of aforementioned chocolate cheese.

First of all the butter was melted over a low heat.  Whilst this happened Sous Chef J used a rolling pin to turn the gluten free biscuits into crumbs.

Once the biscuits were crumbs, the melted butter was added to the bowl and everything was mixed together.

Then it was time to add the biscuit mix to the base of the ramekin dishes.  Once divided equally, the mix was pressed down firmly and then the dishes were chilled for about an hour.

When the bases had been cooled, the chocolate cheese was opened up... although to be honest, it's far more chocolate spread-like texture than cheese.  Rather thinner and less 'gloopy' than we were expecting.

Undeterred, we set about dividing the pot's contents between our three ramekins.   The toppings were smoothed to the best (of our rather pathetic) abilities.

This is what we ended up with.  Again, the pots were returned to the fridge and left whilst we went out to burn off some calories...

Finally, we were almost ready for our easy to make cheats' cheesecake... however, there was a pot of double cream calling to us when we opened the fridge door (those of you who follow us on twitter may realise this means that the use by date was upon us/near)  So we poured a little cream into a pot and whipped it BY HAND... and when I say "we" I mean ME... Sous Chef J claimed muscle weakness as his defence and offered, most gallantly, to lick the whisk once I'd whipped the cream!

Once my upper arm was burning, in that "I've done too much" way, the cream was ready to be added to the dishes.  A few chocolate sprinkly/chunklet thingies were liberally added and then we all dived in.

All in all, it was a tasty dessert and was very simple to make.  Easy to 'create' in advance and not too challenging to eat (important for Sous Chef J.)  This is the first time we've had a cheesecake of any type since adopting the Gluten Free lifestyle.  It was pretty filling but we all struggled through and managed to clear our pots!