Tag Archives: gluten-free

Beetroot Muffins

muffin 002With all the baking thats going on in the UK at the moment it seems like a good time to get on board with healthier options. Carrot cake gets all the press when it comes to cake baking, here we use beetroot maximising the earthy flavour and awesome colour that it gives out. The individual muffins help me in the restraint department. When we make a big cake I just keep carving ‘carpachio’ slivers off until the cake has disappeared. Individual cakes helps me display a modicum of inner strength, convinicing myself that one is enough. If you don’t have muffin cases then use baking paper New York deli style. Suitable for gluten free.

Ingredients (makes 8 muffins)

200g ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (gluten free baking powder if you want to keep the recipe gluten free)
100g caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
60ml oil
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
75g beetroot (once peeled and grated)
Zest of one orange

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Lightly oil the muffin tin and put a paper case in. If you have a silicone muffin tin, there is no need to use cases.

Take a mixing bowl and mix all of the dry ingredients. In a seperate bowl whisk together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Fold the two together. Stir in the grated beetroot and the zested orange.

Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and pile nice and high, so that the muffins will rise above the line. Put into the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a nice golden colour on top and an inserted wooden skewer into the centre of the muffin comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

Gluten Free Baking Powder

P1080163In all of the recipes on this blog, particularly in the cakes and the biscuits, wheat alternatives have been used such as  spelt flour or ground almonds.  When baking powder is made there is a starch added which is wheat based therefore it is essential to use wheat and gluten free baking powder. You will find this in most supermarkets, in the wheat free section, or online.

For a recipe which uses this see Poppy Seed Cake.

Festive Cookies

CookiesThis recipe will give you a seriously good cookie. The combination of chestnut flour, allspice, orange and fig resonates with the festive season. I just cross referenced a normal cookie recipe from the internet and all of them were in the region of 100g of butter and 225g of sugar. This recipe uses no butter, 60g of sugar and has the added bonus that it is gluten free and tastes as moorish as a normal cookie. Most health food shops will stock chestnut flour. You can use a different flour if you are not bothered with gluten free eg; spelt.

Ingredients (makes 10 to 12)

100ml oil
100g chestnut flour
60g demerara sugar (or Xylitol)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsps ground allspice (or nutmeg)
1 egg
50g hazelnuts
100g dried figs
Zest and juice of half a large orange
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the hazelnuts into a pyrex dish and roast them for around 10 minutes or until they have a slight golden colour. Remove and leave to cool down. Turn the oven down to 160.

With an electric whisk (or by hand if you don’t have one), whisk together the egg, sugar and vanilla. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and allspice and lightly mix together with a spoon or spatula. Roughly chop the hazelnuts or crush them with the back of a frying pan. Cut the figs into small squares, add the orange zest and juice and give a good mix together.

Cookie2Your mix will yield 12 cookies so use that as a guide to size. Spoon onto greaseproof paper on a baking tray – you will probably need two, approximately two inches apart as they will spread a little when baking. Lightly press them down with the spoon. Place into the oven. After 8 minutes or so, remove from the oven and press them down with your hand. The total cooking time will be 15 to 20 minutes – you could turn them over for the last couple of minutes, to ensure they are totally cooked underneath.

Leave to cool completely, as they firm up even more in the cooling process. If they last longer than one hour store in a tupperware or biscuit tin.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake

Its that time of year where we have time to indulge in such luxuries as cake making.  Smells filling the house, warming it up rather than over heating it (we live in Spain). This is a Nikki recipe. We are experimenting with different no gluten flours that are not heavily processed like some of the branded gluten free flour on the shelves.

Pumpkin is really popular with cakes and desserts in the America. In Europe we tend to go for different roots like carrot or beetroot. This cake is dense and will last forever getting better day by day. It would of been called ‘hippy cake’ where I am from, not that thats a bad thing. Its the chestnut flour that gives it that texture. I really like it for its longevity and it can also double up as a winter dessert.  Serve it with yoghurt and honey or yoghurt agave or vanilla ice cream. Failing that it works really just with a cup of tea.

If you find this cake a little dense or you cannot find chestnut flour, you can use ground almonds instead.

Ingredients

225g pumpkin (once peeled and grated)
200g chestnut flour
4 large eggs
175g brown sugar (or half xylitol) if you have it, all sugar is fine
225ml oil
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
2 tsps ground ginger
75g raisins
50g hazelnuts (roughly chopped)

Method

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and grease, line and flour (with the chestnut flour) a 23cm (9 inch) springform cake tin.

Sieve the flour, ginger and baking powder into a large bowl. Whisk together the eggs, oil and sugar in a seperate bowl until mixed well. Fold the egg mixture into the dry mix and add the carrots, raisins and hazelnuts.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and cook for 50 to 55 minutes. If you insert a wooden skewer into the middle of the cake it should come out completely clean, and feel firm to the touch in the middle.

Leave to cool in the tin for at least half an hour before transferring to a plate.

In the photo it has been served with Quark and a drizzle of agave.

Cinnamon and Honey Cake

This is a tasty tea time cake with lots of cinnamon, which has strong resonances of a Moroccan kitchen.

Ingredients

250g ground almonds
1/4 tsp Maldon sea salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g walnuts roughly chopped
65g dried raisins
60ml  organic sunflower oil
6oml good quality organic honey
2 large eggs

For the top;

2 tbsps ground cinnamon
2 tbsps oil
60ml honey
50g flaked almonds

Method

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.  Mix together the ground almonds, salt, bicarbonate of soda, walnuts and currants together.  In a seperate bowl whisk together the oil, agave and the eggs.  Fold in the egg mix to the almond mix.  Pour this into a lined and greased 20cm springform cake tin.  To keep the recipe gluten free, I tend to use cornflour.

Now you want to prepare the topping for the cake.  Mix together the cinnamon, oil, agave and almonds.  Evenly distribute over the top of the cake and then put into the oven for 30 to 235 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin for at least 40 minutes before removing.

Gluten Free Ginger Loaf

Today you can find many different options for gluten free baking.  Brown rice flour, cornflour, corn starch, polenta all with  varying degree of success.  Some of the gluten free flour mixes for baking work well but can leave  a chalky aftertaste in the mouth, I am guessing this comes from the cornstarch.  This recipe uses  almond powder resulting in a  lovely rich  texture which retains moisture over time.

Ingredients

250g ground almonds
2 tsps ground cinnamon
5 tsps ground ginger
1 1/2 tsps ground nutmeg
125g raisins
1/2 tsp salt
125ml of olive oil
3 eggs
125ml maple or agave syrup (or mix of both)

Method

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees centigrade.  Grease a 26cm loaf tin with olive oil, and lightly dust the sides with cornflour (I am using cornflour here to keep the cake completely gluten free.  If you don´t have this use any of the above flours, or just oil well.  The cake may stick a little if you don´t use any flour, just loosen from the sides before removing from the tin.

Mix together the almond powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and raisins.  In a seperate whisk together the oil, eggs and syrup.  Blend the two mixes together and evenly pour into the tin.

Bake for approximately 55 minutes.  The top may brown before the cake is completely cooked, this is not a problem, just cover the loaf tin with foil.  When tested to see if the cake is cooked, insert a wooden skewer into the centre and if it comes out clean it is ready.

Chicken and Quinoa Medley

Chicken Quinoa

This is the kind of meal you could make for yourself and eat over a couple of days as long as you keep the sauce and seeds separate

I devised it originally to use up the chicken leftovers from a roast. You can just as easily griddle a chicken breast.  I use a lot of quinoa in my cooking. Its a complete protein, a carbohydrate and it’s gluten free. Like oats it has complex carbohydrates and essential amino acids which makes it good for training. Most importantly it’s versatile and works as a  sweet or savoury dish.

Ingredients (serves 4)

250g of left over chicken or 2 chicken breast griddled
150g quinoa
150g cherry tomatoes
25g capers
50g spring onions or shallots
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 orange, juiced
Salt and pepper
25g parsley
75g sunflower seeds
10ml Tamari (or soy sauce)

Sauce

100g natural yoghurt
100g cucumber (about a third)
Half of the lemon juice
25g mint
Salt and pepper
Tamari seeds (see TIPS)

Method

To make the yoghurt sauce  mix together the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Peel and de-seed the cucumber and cut into small squares, chop the mint and add to the yoghurt and mix together.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and put onto a baking tray covered with baking paper. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and black pepper and some olive oil. (Optional, drizzle a small amount of honey, agave, maple syrup or just a bit of sugar over the tomatoes for added sweetness).

Pour the quinoa into boiling water for 8-10 minutes, taste, it needs to be soft but with a bit of bite. Drain into a fine sieve and refresh under the cold tap. Let it drain for 5 minutes then lay out flat on a tray and cover with kitchen roll and press the excess water out of it. Roughly chop the capers and finely chop the spring onion and the parsley.

Combine the above ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze half the orange and half the lemon into the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the ingredients over to combine gently.  You don’t want to break up the tomatoes too much.

To serve, place the quinoa mix on a plate and layer on the chicken, pour on the dressing and garnish with herbs and seeds.

Fruit Compote

Fruit compote is another fridge essential. Its straightforward to make and has a long life. I use it all year round and eat it with morning oats, soaked oats or with yoghurt as a dessert.

Ingredients

1kg fruit e.g plums, pears, apricots or peaches
200ml apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise

Method

Cut the fruit into quarters and remove the stone or the core. Put into a heavy bottom pan with the aromatics and cover with the apple juice.

Bring to the boil for 5 minutes then turn down low for a further 10 minutes with the lid on.

Let it cool down and keep it in a sealed container in the fridge.