Thursday, 29 July 2010

'E' Lime Pie

I am of course talking about Key-lime Pie if you didn't get the gist of the post title! This recipe for Key Lime pie is my Dads favourite and I usually make it for him every year on his birthday, I call it E-Lime Pie as my Dads nickname is E (a tenuous abbreviation of Ian if ever there was one!).
Its such a lovely zesty summer recipe and never fails to remind me of being on holiday in Florida and trying it for the first time, way before coeliac's was even a twinkle in my belly!
Key-Lime Pie originated in the Florida keys and a traditional K-L-P uses Key limes found only in the Keys and has a meringue topping like a lemon meringue pie. Its more or less a cheesecake and has a biscuit base and a filling made from condensed milk like a normal cheesecake would have. If you haven't tried it before give it a go because its really quite yummy and really nice after a B-B-Q and the recipe I'm posting here is big enough for a good 10-12 slices, you will also find that the longer its kept in the fridge the better the texture and taste gets. I dare any non gluten-freer to taste the difference between this GF version and a regular Key-Lime Pie.

'E'-Lime, Key-Lime Pie

  • 8 Egg yolks
  • 2 397g Tins of condensed milk
  • 450ml Of whipping cream
  • Zest and juice of 5 limes
  • 500g Digestive or any other plain GF biscuit such as shortbread biscuits
  • 200g Butter
You will also need a nice big pie dish greased, say 23cm sort of size or similar, remember if you use a smaller pie dish than the crust will be thicker and the pie higher, larger and the crust will be thinner and the pie flatter.

  • Pop the oven on to Gas mark 3 (170c)
  • To make the crust whizz your biscuits up in a food blender until they are ground down to a course powder, if you don't have a food blender pop your biscuits into a couple of sandwich bags (do this in batches or you will split your bags!) and bash they're brains out with a rolling pin (always therapeutic!).
  • Pour your melted butter into the food processor with your biscuits and mix, or if you are using the 'plastic bag' method pop your biccies in a bowl and pour over the butter and mix through with a wooden spoon.
  • Next press your mixture into your pie dish and up the sides so all of the inside of the dish is covered in the butter/biscuit mixture, even out with the back of a spoon or your own (clean) mitts.
  • Pop in the oven for around 20 minutes. I've said it once and I'll say it again, don't expect the mixture to darken that much, don't rely on the mixture darkening to guess if it is ready, do the touch test and press the base to see if it is firm. When it is firm remove it from the oven and set it to one side to cool down.
  • Now turn your oven down to Gas 2 (150c)
  • Pop your eggs yolks, lime juice and zest and condensed milk into a nice big bowl and give it a gentle whisk with a fork or a whisk if you own one, until all the ingredients are well mixed. Don't worry at this stage if the mixture looks a bit watery and pathetic, it will get thicker naturally.
  • Pour your lime/egg/milk mix into your now cold crust mix and pop back in the oven for another 25-30minutes, if like me your working with a temperamental oven which ignores your commands and cooks things how it wants instead of how you want then make sure you keep checking the pie so it is undercooked or gets overcooked. When its ready the mixture should be firm with some movement still in the centre but not wobbly. Take it out the oven and leave to cool down before you pop it in the fridge (covered with clingfilm) and leave for an hour at the least, overnight if you can as I said above the texture and tastes improves the longer its left.
  • When its time for some tucker tucker whip up the whipping cream and spread it over your pie, serve in big man-sized slices.


As a thank you for baking 62 gingerbread pieces for her classes at school my lovely Mum bought me a gorgeous new cake tin to house freshly baked goodies (check out the pic's below).

I'm amassing some fab baking bits n' bobs, along with my snazzy new tin and my bargain charity shop book stand I have inherited a very kitsch but very pretty cut glass cake stand that I rescued from the box heading for Oxfam. What a save! Although I couldn't find it in order to take a snap so I'll have to show you another time when I've located it.
This year I was also converted from the old school paper cupcake cases to the new-style silicon cases, to be fair it wasn't much of an ordeal converting as most of the silicon cases are very pretty and girlie! My mum bought me a brilliant set of 12 pastel coloured heart-shaped silicon cases from Lakeland, they are super cute (see pic) and Lakeland (if your not familiar with it) is a great place to get useful gadgets and pretty baking bits and bobs and all manner of knick knacks, check out the website they're currently having a big old summer sale which I'm trying not to think about in order to get this post written!

Back for Good.

Hello again..what do you mean 'who are you?' I haven't been away for that long! Many apologies for the total lack of bloggage recently! I have been gallivanting all over the place to get some nice ideas for my blog and for some new recipes, as well as some shopping, baking and Feng shui-ing my bedroom and also plying my new trade/hobby of sewing! I'm using every sewing skill and technique I remember from GCSE Textiles, which is actually zilch as our textiles teacher, who shall remain nameless (Ms Sylvester) lovely as she was could barely tie her shoelaces let alone teach us to sew! still I scraped through with a decent enough B grade so I thought I'd dust off the old needle and thread and get down to some serious sewing! Here's some of my handy work including a lavender cupcake wardrobe scenter (trying to keep with the baking theme here however tenuous!). Not bad, eh?

My mum, who is responsible for teaching me all my sewing know-how is making it her mission to teach me how to use the sewing machine which is sitting redundant in the loft, and after a good old browse of the AMAZING blog breadandbuttons I'm chomping at the bit to make things!
I want to start a sewing group called Stitch N' Bitch, but I don't hold much hope after our book club crashed and burned after just one book.
I have several baking beaut's lined up for you before the summer is out (if the weather report is anything to go by I'd better get them up quick!) including my Dad's favourite dessert, a super duper vitamin packed tortilla and lots of other various yum-yum in your tum cakes and the like.

Monday, 5 July 2010

To Oat or Not to Oat: The Big Grain Question

You may or may not have heard about the hoo-haa surrounding the suitability of oats in a gluten-free diet. Like other non-gluten free grains such as barely and rye, oats are often thought to be a no go area for gluten-free folks.
So now for the science bit.
There has been some question about whether oats are actually OK for coeliacs as they don't contain gliadin. As I understand it, gliadin plays a role in the formation of gluten. However, oats DO contain an analogue (an analogue being a biological structure which performs a similar function in a similar way. Confused yet?) of gliadin called avenin. Avenin is a prolamin (plant storage protein) that is toxic to the intestinal tract and can therefore trigger a reaction in some coeliacs. Still with me?
Several studies suggest that as long as oats are 'pure' they can be enjoyed as part of a gluten free diet, 'pure' oats being oats that are processed away other grains like barely that contain gluten so as not to contaminate them.
However the Codex Alimentarius Commission officially lists oats as containing gluten. It's all a bit of a conundrum!
If you are umming and ahhing over whether or not to include oats in your diet talk to your GP, dietitian or get on the Internet then you can make an informed decision for yourself.
If your missing your 'golden-glow' at breakfast time you will find most of the major supermarkets stock a gluten-free porridge now made from rice flakes and buckwheat (both safe).

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Veg-A-Ble Patch

We are almost entirely self sufficient, well, apart from the £100 weekly shop at Sainsbury's...

Sunday Saver- Throw Anything in Risotto

Yes I know what your going to say, risotto can can either go one of two ways, not cooked or overcooked and its hard to get it spot on, right?. Wrong! If a numpty like me who thought Walsall was in Poland can cook the perfect risotto anyone can.
This recipe is an amalgamation of a few different tips and recipes I picked up in the quest for a right-on risotto and is your basic blue-print risotto before you start adding other yummy flavours or left overs you have, that's what makes this recipe so kind on your purse strings.
so, lets get started on the basic risotto.

  • 350g Risotto rice, most supermarkets do an own brand version for less than £1.50 (naturally gluten-free, hooray!)
  • 50g Butter
  • 2 tbsp's Olive oil
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 50g Grated Parmesan
  • 1.5-1.75 Litres of gluten-free stock (any you like, I use veggie stock. Bouillon do various GF stock cubes)
here we go, easy-peasy even a monkey could do it risotto method!
  • Before you start of the risotto, pop a nice big pan of stock on to heat ready for when you need to add it to the rice. Apparently the first thing you should do whenever you cook anything is pop a pan of water on to boil because at some point you will need it!
  • Heat your oil and half the butter in a big pan, they say a saute pan is best, I neither know what that is nor do I think I own one so I just you a heavy based wide pan with enough room for all the rice and stock that will be added later. Add the onion and cook until softened. If you wanted to add other vegetables, peppers, mushrooms,garlic etc now would be the time to add them along with the onions.
  • Add the rice and stir through so that the rice is coated in all the oil and butter.
  • I always add white wine to my risotto, it doesn't need to be expensive wine either, slug a large glass of wine in if you'd like and simmer until the rice has absorbed the wine. If you would prefer not to add wine add your first ladleful of hot stock instead. Working on the assumption you add wine as I do, next add your first ladleful of hot stock and let the rice absorb it before adding another ladleful.
  • The rice should be cooked after around 20-25 minutes and should be al dente and nearly all your stock should be added to the pan. don't panic if you have some left over or if you've added all the stock, I've learnt that risotto rice can be unpredictable so don't worry if the amount of stock you use varies every time you make risotto. remember you will also have some stock left over if you added wine.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice absorb whatever is left of the stock. Don't stir, I know the temptation is overwhelming sometimes to stir something your cooking but don't.
  • A good risotto should be creamy (apparently) and the Italians call this all'onda or wavy (random fact to use at dinner parties!). Just before you serve it stir in the rest of the butter, Parmesan and season. Enjoy with the bottle of wine you added of glass of at the start!
....And here's a few things you could throw in..
  • Lemon and Leek- Make like Phil Vickery and add lemon rind and fried leeks to your risotto just before serving
  • Mushrooms- Soak 200g of dried porcini 'shroom's in hot water, add with 300g of sliced fresh mushrooms to the onion at the start of cooking
  • Vegetable- Peppers,cook at the start with the onions, peas stir through later after the last ladleful of stock.
  • Meat and Fish- Stir pre-cooked prawns in at the end of cooking to heat through, add pre-cooked chicken in the same way, or fry chorizo with the onions at the start to get that lovely paprika taste running through the risotto.

Lemon Loaf

Thrifty is as thrifty does.

I've recently decided to commence a period of frugal-ness. For anyone who has met me and knows me well will know that previous attempts to 'make do and mend' and money saving schemes haven't lasted the time its taken for me to declare a bout of frugality,but I've got a fab holiday to Florida to save for so fingers crossed for the big Frugal Florida Fund.
This blogpost and the accompanying recipes were meant to be part of a Frugal Friday recipe post that I was planning on doing, but I lost track of the days and I suddenly remembered today that it was Sunday, so its now a Sunday-Saver recipe post.
Talking of frugal have a butchers at my bargain-licious recipe stand, a thrifty £2 from Oxfam! Sweet tooth's will notice the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, the recipes of which are super easy to convert to gluten-free. Sunday is baking day in my house and I made the Hummingbird's Lemon Loaf , gluten-free of course, the converted recipe of which I have posted, followed by the Sunday Saver recipe for the week, a Throw Anything In Risotto.

Lemon Loaf

  • 320g Caster sugar
  • 3 Medium eggs
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons, and juice of 1 lemon
  • 350g Plain flour (Doves Farm plain flour blend, or Glutafin plain flour available on prescription)
  • 1 1/2 tsp's Gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 250ml Milk (whole milk is best, semi skimmed will do)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 200g Unsalted butter, melted
For the lemon drizzle
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g Caster sugar
  • 100ml Water
  • Pre-heat your oven to Gas 3 (170c or 325f)
  • Pop the sugar,lemon zest and eggs in an electric mixer, if you don't have one a handheld electric whisk will work as well or even a good old manual whisk, but you might need to give it a bit more wellie to get it mixed thoroughly. Beat together until mixed well
  • Sift the baking powder, flour and salt into a separate bowl, I know sifting the flour can seem a bit pointless and makes for extra washing up but it really does make for better cakes. Mix the milk and vanilla in a jug. Next add one third of the flour mix to the sugar/egg mix in your mixer, blend until well mixed, then add one third of the milk mix to the mixer and blend until well mixed. Keep alternating until all your flour and milk mixes are combined with the sugar mix.
  • Pour in your melted butter and beat until well combined.
  • Grease and flour a 23x13cm loaf tin, or a small bread tin, don't worry if your haven't got a loaf shaped sort of tin, you could always pop it in a round cake tin or even make cupcakes with the mixture.
  • Pour your mixture into your now prepared tin and bake in the oven for around an hour and fifteen minutes or until golden, as with most thing gluten free the sponge will not go super golden but it will spring back to the touch when its ready like a normal sponge
For the lemon drizzle
  • Chuck all your lemon drizzle ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil over a lowish heat, raise the heat and boil until the mixture reduces by half. or until you get a thin syrup consistency. while the cake is still hot prick the surface with a toothpick and pour over the drizzle. Leave to cool for a bit and to let the drizzle sink into the cake, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.