Friday, 25 July 2014

Wild Raspberry Jam (no added sugar)

We have a walk we take with the dog where we had spotted a patch of raspberry canes - it's alongside the bridleway.  We noticed a few fruits were ripe and ready to harvest so when we returned at the weekend, it was great to see how many more had been ripened in just seven days.  Only spending a few minutes gathering fruit, we were surprised to find, once back home, that we had 350g red raspberries and eight yellow raspberries (much to Sous Chef J's delight).

As wild raspberries are small and very flavoursome, we decided to try to make jam with no added sugar. With no idea as to how it would turn out but thought it worth a go and would, we hoped, make a suitable filling for one of our favourite roulades.

After washing the raspberries, they were put in a pan and a small amount of freshly squeezed orange juice was added.  The pan was placed over a medium heat and brought to a rolling boil.  The raspberries were boiled until pulling back with a spoon revealed only a small amount of fluid.

Whilst the raspberries were boiling, we sterilised our jam jar (by placing it and its lid in the washing up bowl and filling with boiling water).  This was then quickly drained, making sure not to touch the inside of the jar or lid.

The jam was then decanted into the jam jar and left to cool.  It was good to hear the 'click' of the lid as the cooling contents created a vacuum seal in the jar.

We had read online that wild raspberries contain alot of pectin so we didn't add any sugar or pectin.  As you can see, in the pic to the right, after setting, there was no doubt this was not a runny jam!

Trying the jam on some Genius Gluten Free seeded bread that had been toasted, it was a tasty preserve that was very much like a thick paste/spread rather than a traditional jam with jelly.  Surprisingly, even though there were lots of seeds in the jam, as the fruit was wild, they were very small and not at all unpleasant.

Not bad for an almost free fruit spread!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Rosy's Gluten Free

Having spotted Rosy's Gluten Free on twitter and hearing about all the lovely products on offer, Sous Chef J and I finally made it into the store today!   What a find... we were greeted by the lovely Rosy and loads of our gluten free favourites on the shelves.

Located in Leicester, the store is a treasure trove of hard to find goods - like Eskal Wafer Rolls (don't get me started... ) and Baked to Taste sausage rolls and pasties.  Even better, we got to buy some of the award winning focaccia we'd heard so much about on twitter.

There are shelves of goodies to look through and select from.  Freezer and chiller cabinets stocked with breads, pizzas, sausage rolls, pork pies and so on. 

 Our haul... waiting to be paid for!
The frozen foods we purchased were Baked to Taste sausage rolls, part baked mini focaccia with caramelised red onion and also some with orange and almond.   Focaccia Per Tutti are a Leicestershire based company and they were winners of the Free From Food award 2014 for bread... so we're keen to try their goodies out for ourselves. 

We also bought some spicy hummus chips, coconut flour, falafel mix and a peanut oat bar.   Now we know that the shop has such a great range of stock, we'll definitely be making the trip there again.  Only 15 minutes from J21 of the M1 ... post code LE2 7HN works well in the sat nav... you can park right outside the shop (on the pavement area) which is a handy to know seeing as parking's sometimes hard to find when students are about.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Ice Cream Cake

We decided, with it being a hot weekend forecast, that we'd make an ice cream cake... having flirted, (momentarily) with thoughts of making a gluten free 'arctic roll' type ice-cream-filled-roulade, common sense (and laziness) returned.  A silicone cake mould had been bought a few weeks before and we had some Swedish Glace vanilla in the freezer... that, with some added extras, would be our simple cake! 

The 'main' ingredients used were a whole pot of vanilla Swedish glace and mixed nuts.  We used pecans, pistachios and macadamias in the cake.  Flaked almonds were used on the top together with a few of the pistachios.

If we'd had them, we would have put in some gluten free mini macaroons/amaretti biscuits or honeycomb to add a bit of crunch to the mix.

Using a whole pot of Swedish Glace, we put it in a bowl and softened it up by stirring.

 Taking our assortment of nuts, they were lightly toasted in a hot frying pan (don't leave them for long, they catch and burn quickly) then allowed to cool.

The cooled, toasted nuts were then roughly chopped...

... before being added to the softened vanilla ice cream.  Sous Chef J had a bit of a struggle to get the mixture combined but managed it in the end.

Next, the nut and ice cream mix was added to the silicone mould, which was then put in a large plastic bag and put in the freezer overnight (or you could leave it
longer) to re-freeze.

Once it was nearly time to serve the ice cream cake, we had to 'ice' it... to do this we made a ganache using equal volumes of dark chocolate and double cream.   The cream was heated to just below boiling point, allowed to cool slightly and then the chocolate was added and stirred well until it was smooth and glossy.

Whilst we were letting the ganache cool, we turned out the cake from the silicone mould. This was surprisingly easy.

The 'cake' looked pretty impressive and was ready to be 'iced'.

Taking the cooled chocolate ganache, it was gently spread over the ice cream cake and allowed to 'find its level' - aka leak all over!

When the chocolate ganache had been added, we sprinkled over the remaining pistachios and flaked almonds together with some chocolate stars I'd found in the cupboard.
The cake was then returned to the freezer, briefly.  Finally, we sprinkled over some dried raspberries to go with the fresh raspberries we added to the final dish for serving.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Alternative Burger 'Buns'...

Sous Chef J is a big fan of finger food and has a problem with dexterity so we like to make 'easy to eat' things.  Burgers fall into this category but Gluten Free bread/buns seems to be something that we still can't find with enough reliability to factor into our meal-making.

We saw these mushrooms when we were in the shop last week and thought they looked just perfect to be used as burger 'buns'.   So, we gave it a go!

Making our own burgers, using beef mince, an egg and onions, we chopped the onions and fried them on a low heat until they went transparent.  Setting them aside for a few minutes to cool slightly, we added the beaten egg to the mince and mixed well.  We then incorporated the cooled, cooked onions.

Next, we used a couple of dessertspoons to form the burgers into patties and fried them in a little sunflower oil over a medium heat.

Then it was time to gather all the 'putting together' ingredients - we used iceberg lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, sliced baby brie and portabella mushrooms.  Also tomato ketchup and other sauces...
Sous Chef J layered his burger on a lettuce leaf, added a slice of tomato and folded the leaf into a parcel to enclose the burger.
The mushrooms were quickly heated in the frying pan, stalk side down, for a couple of minutes.

They were then ready for use as 'buns'... and to make a cheeseburger we used slices of mini brie as well as the burger, lettuce and tomato slice.

Here's a cross section through our mushroom-bun-cheeseburger ....
... yumminess on a plate.   Sous Chef J had seconds and thirds although prefers the lettuce wrapped burgers as they contain the deliciousness better for him!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Feta Salad

This is a really simple, tasty summertime salad.

The ingredients needed for two portions are - 
Feta cheese, about 100g, cubed
2 tomatoes, cubed
10cm cucumber, peeled and cubed
30ml (2Tbsp) oil (we used sunflower)
30ml (2Tbsp) cider vinegar

Peel and cube the cucumber and add to serving bowls...

Dice the tomatoes and add to the bowl.

Drain off the feta and dice...

... before adding to the bowls.

Finally, pour over the oil and vinegar and make sure the salad components are well coated.  Serve!