Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Marvelous Mini Blueberry and Cinnamon Muffins

  • 9oz Plain gluten free flour mix (Dietary Specials, Doves Farm, Glutafin)
  • 2 tsp's Gluten free baking powder
  • 5 1/2 oz Caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp's Xantham gum (Doves Farm)
  • 4 tbsp's Olive oil
  • 1 Egg
  • 250ml Milk
  • 5 1/2 oz Blueberries
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • Whack the oven up to gas 6 while you set about putting your cases in a tray. If you make mini muffins just use regular cupcake cases, if you want to make normal sized muffins use muffin cases. The mixture will make 8 big muffins and 12 small mini muffins.
  • Sieve your flour into a big bowl with the sugar, baking powder,cinnamon and xantham gum and add a tiny pinch of salt (brings out the flavour apparently,says James Martin) . Mix the whole lot together thoroughly.
  • In another bowl whisk your egg, milk and oil together (putting oil in a cake recipe somehow seemed wrong to me, but it makes for a moist muffin). Pour the whole lot into the bowl with the flour mixture and mix well before adding your blueberries and stirring through gently. Your aiming for a soft mixture which isn't to wet and runny.
  • Spoon your mixture into the cases of your choice and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until they've swelled up and have coloured on top.
More Muffins
Chocolate and cherry 3 1/2 oz glace cherries and 3 oz choccy
Carrot cake grate a large carrot into the mixture with 3 oz raisins with a tsp cinnamon
cranberry and white chocolate chop 3 oz of choccy and add to the mixture with 3 oz cranberries

Back to School Special: Day 2

I bet you didn't expect to see me again so soon!
Well, as the title suggests its Day 2 of 'A Girls Guide..' Back to School Special and today I'm all about the muffins. To be honest, I have never really liked muffins, I think they're way too big and stodgy and by the time you've got half way through one you feel a bit sick, although I used to be very partial to the Christmas muffins in Starbucks.
This recipe is an adaptation of a Phil Vickery recipe from his 'Seriously Good' book, I haven't actually tried his recipe and the reason adapted it was because I didn't have the ingredients in the house that he listed in the book. They are still very yummy though and are mini versions so are perfect for lunch boxes or for tea breaks when your at work, to me a mini muffin is a more manageable muffin!
Rather ironically Nemesis  to the humble muffin is the dreaded gluten, as Phil explains in 'Seriously Good', because the more you fanny about and mix the flour in a normal muffin recipe the tighter and denser the mixture gets, thus producing a chewy muffin, and nobody wants a chewy muffin.
Now, Phil uses bitter chocolate and cherry in his muffins, but I have a fear of cherries since I bit into one and found a maggot, but at the end of the recipe I'll put the amounts you need to add for the choc&cherry recipe should you want to make that instead of the blueberry and cinnamon recipe I'm posting, I'll also pop up a few other suggestions you might want to try should you be fussy and like neither blueberries or cherries.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Micro-Mini Cheese Scones

  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 oz Butter
  • 1/4 Pint milk
  • 8 oz Self raising flour (Doves Farm, Glutafin)
  • 3 oz Cheese (Cheddar or a stronger cheese if you prefer)
  • Pre-heat the oven to gas 5 and grease a baking tray with butter (you may need to grease two trays depending on the size and also how big you make your scones, the mixture will make 16-24 mini scones)
  • Sieve the flour, salt and cayenne together in a bowl
  • Cut the butter into cubes and pop into the bowl with the flour. rub the butter into flour until it looks like breadcrumbs (try to just use your finger tips at this stage, to keep the mixture as cool as possible and also so as not to overwork the mixture)
  • Using the fine side of a grater grate the cheese into the butter/flour mixture and stir until the cheese is evenly mixed through. 
  • Sticky fingers stage! Add the milk gradually, and pull the mixture together into a ball. The mixture shouldn't feel too sticky or wet, but not so dry that it crumbles and cracks when you roll it. 
  • Roll the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface (don't put too much flour on your worktop because in essence your adding more flour to the mixture, top tip from The Great British Bake Off!). A shot glass the perfect size for these scones, if you have a cutter use that and if you want to make them bigger maybe use a small mug. Brush the tops with milk, and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden. If your making the mini version keep your eye on the scones whilst they are in the oven, if you over cook them your liable to crack a tooth trying to eat them.
  • When they're cooked take out of them oven, let them cool on the baking tray for a few minutes and then transfer to a rack.
  • Slather with butter while still warm, or pop in a sealed box or tin when cool. 
How about these scones...
fruit scones omit the cheese and pepper and add 2 tbsp of caster sugar, 1 egg and 6oz of fruit.
sweet scones omit the cheese and pepper and just add 1 tbsp of caster sugar
Nutmeg and cinnamon scones omit the cheese and pepper and add 1 tbsp of caster sugar and a tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg.
Blueberry omit the pepper and cheese, add 1 tbsp caster sugar and 5oz blueberry's

Unfortunalty I cant locate the picture of the cheese scones made by my own fair hands, so the picture above was pinched from the BBC food wesbite!

Back to School

Hurrah, all the kids go back to school this week and I for one couldn't be more pleased as it means the shops and streets will not be overrun with children wearing heelies (an accident waiting to happen in my eyes).
This week I'm going to attempt to put a 'back to school' recipe up every day for those of my readers who have gluten-free kids or for anyone who needs some new ideas for their lunch boxes. I shan't promise that I will get a recipe up everyday, but I will try my very hardest (no blood oaths here!).
my poor old blog has been on lock down this week, I've not even been able to visit it and reprimand myself for being too idle to write a recipe post because poor Mary my Mac had a hissy fit and conked out last week and then the Internet crashed 'ughhhhh', although to be fair I didn't let this bother me for too long because the X Factor was on.
Last Monday I received a ginormous box of gluten free goodies from Becky at Dietary Specials (thanks Becky!) so I didn't really have to do much shopping this week. Dietary Specials do a great range of rolls, bread, and frozen yummies like pasties and sausage rolls, which are brilliant for popping in your lunch box.
For anyone that has never visited play.com get on there pronto, you can pick up new and used recipe books for fabulously frugal prices, I bought Nigella's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' for £7! Quite a bargain from the queen of baking herself! I also very sneakily (because I'm meant to have been frugal this month, and the last) put myself on the pre-order list for Nigella's new book which is out on Thursday (cue excited squeals from me!).
I saw some very cute lunch boxes in Sainsburys (you must think I live in Sainsburys!) but my dad managed to talk me out of buying one since I don't actually attend school or any other institution where a lunch box might be of some practical use. Check out the oh so cute lunch boxes at dotcomegiftshop, my cousin bought the pink polka coolbag, its so sweet, for the hardcore men if your life there is even lunch boxes with skulls on (are hardcore men into skulls? I'm not sure as my boyfriend is more the type to moisturise than take a car apart).

Anyway, on with the baking. I visited the Gluten free message board recently and felt really sorry for all the parents who have kids who are gluten free, it must be very hard to find and cook new things for them especially when they cant have what other kids at school are eating, I know my own  mum had problems with me throwing tantrums when I started eating gluten free (when I was 20-ha!).
I'm not a childcare expert by any stretch of the imagination but I think one of the best ways to get kids interested in what they're eating (and I think Jamie Oliver will agree) is to let them help you prepare and cook food. I'm not suggesting you let them near an open flame or lethally sharp knives, but having a hand in making something simple like cakes or scones gives them a sense of achievement, even now I feel all pleased with myself when I've made something, and I'm five years shy of 30! Yes, I know it can be annoying and messy baking with children, as I learned when I made chocolate fudge with a class of Year 3's but it makes them feel so grown up and happy, which is probably why my mum and dad let me make dinner most nights.
All the recipes posted this week will be child friendly ( i.e easy to make) bar a few recipes which kids will enjoy eating but which you may want to make yourself as they involve hot oil and a sharp knife!
The first recipe this week is for mini cheese scones, child friendly and super easy and quick to whip up, they are lunch box sized and once they've cooled you can either put them in a sealed box or tin or pop them in the freezer until you want to eat them.
I've noticed a lot of you have voted in my pole, only 11 days left so get your vote in quick to have a hand in what I cook next!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Luscious Lemon Curd Victoria Sponge

For all my fabulous followers! This is a twist of the normal Victoria sponge recipe and has a lemon curd layer between the sponges as well as lemon frosting! The lemon in the cake mix makes the sponge nice and light and moist, and the tartness of the curd balances out the sweetness of the frosting.

For the sponge
  • 200g  Caster sugar
  • 200g Soft butter
  • 200g Self raising flour (try Doves Farm and Glutafin)
  • 1/2 Tsp vanilla essence
  • Grated zest of two small lemons
For the lemon curd
  • 50g Butter
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Heaped tsps of cornflour or potato flour
  • Juice and zest of a large lemon
  • 2oz Caster sugar  
For the lemon frosting
  • 8og Butter
  • 250g Icing sugar
  • Rind of 1 lemon 
  • A few drops of yellow colouring (optional)
  • 25ml Milk
  • Pre-heat the oven at gas 5 and grease and flour 2 cake tins. If your the patron saint of baking parchment as I am the thought of not lining the tins will be enough to make you feel sick but after trying the grease and flour method I must say it was pretty good and the sponge didn't stick, so give it a go!
  • For the sponge whizz the butter and sugar in a blender or by hand until fluffy and well mixed.
  • Next add the eggs one by one and mix well, before adding the vanilla essence, lemon rind and then the flour mixing well until all the ingredients are blended and the mixture is smooth.
  • Divide the mixture between the between the 2 tins and bake in the oven for 20-25minutes. Resist the urge to open the oven door before time. The top of the cakes should be golden brown and will pop back if you give them a poke.
  • While your sponge is in the oven you can get on with making the frosting and curd.
  • Whack all the ingredients for the frosting bar the milk into a mixer (or work your gun's and mix in a bowl with a wooden spoon). Pop the milk in last and mix through until the mixture is smooth and lump free. Cover over with cling film and put in the fridge until your sponge is cool and ready to ice.
  • When your sponge is out of the oven and well on its way to cooling you can start making your curd.
  • Whisk the egg in a small pan, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk over a medium heat for about 3-4 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. When it reaches this stage turn the heat down to the lowest heat and simmer for about a minute. Take off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes, don't let it cool down too much or it wont spread when you come to cover your cake.
  • When your cakes are cool spread the lemon curd over the top of one of the sponges. When the curd has cooled right down you can then spread the frosting over the top and then finally lay the other sponge (carefully!) on the top of the frosting/curd layers. Lastly dust a little icing sugar over the top and keep in cake tin or air tight container until your ready to unveil to your guests!

Something for the weekend

Had a good old peruse of the new baking goodies on offer in sainsbury's, I had to remind myself that I'm meant to be on a frugal trip at the moment and restrained myself to buying just a few things including some oh so cute cupcake boxes and some pink sparkle dust to decorate cakes and the like with. I also couldn't resist splashing out on a new blogging notebook for myself so that if I'm overcome with ideas in the night I can scribble them down quickly, of course I needed a matching pen to do that. Before you look at the pictures and ask the question 'just HOW old are you Kate?' just remember that Winnie the Pooh is for everyone, not just kids!
The recipe promised for all my lovely gorgeous followers (because MY followers are the most lovely gorgeous followers on the net.Fact.) is going up today. So after you scope out the pics of some recent cute purchases have a butchers at the recipe for Lemon Curd Cake (yes, I know I do a lot of lemon things and this will be the last thing for a while, promise) it was inspired by a cake on The Great British Bake Off, but this version is of course gluten free.
Muffin Cases (pack of 52)  £1.39 Coast Gifts
Eeyore Notebook £3.99 Sainsburys
Cupcake cases (pack of 100)  52p Sainsburys
Cupcake Necklace £5.99 Accessorize

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Brutal Baking

Did anyone catch The Great British Bake Off on BBC2 last night? It was brilliant and also slightly brutal- grown men crying over sunken tea loaves and the broken looks of many a face when the delectable Mary Berry declared a sponge 'dry'. It was all rather good! Some of the creations were amazing and made me feel a little sheepish about my lemon drizzle cake which paled in comparison to most of the goodies on offer!
My favourite baker of the lot has to be Edd, he's super duper cute and his cakes look so yum, i really hope he goes through to the final!
I must say though, and I'm probably only saying this as my body is afflicted with an incapacity to digest gluten without being ill, but what shows like The Great British Bake Off and Masterchef lack is a contestant who is a gluten freer, that would add a new dimension to the show and perhaps a good sob story a la the X Factor!
All this baking has got me in the mood for making an epic cake, luckily we have family coming over on Sunday for an end of summer tea party of sorts, although the actual odds of venturing outside are slim in this weather but I shall whip up a cake never the less.
This also gives me a grand excuse to get some baking goodies from the new Sainsbury's range of cooking bits and pieces, I did notice whilst aisle gliding last Sunday that they now stock.. (wait for it)... Disney Princess cake sprinkles...I almost put myself into cardiac arrest with the excitement of it all.
I was contemplating making a giant cupcake, but after looking at the recipe and the intended dimensions for just the base I decided against it as I realised that the bleeding thing would weigh as much as my cat, and he's almost 5 kilos.
Sadly there is no recipe for today as I haven't pulled my finger out in time to prepare, cook and take photos of anything, but expect something shortly (although don't hold your breath, you know what I'm like!).
Until then here are some extra cute baking bits and bobs I found online when I was meant to be doing things of far greater importance.All loveliness featured above is avaliable online at http://www.dotcomgiftshop.com/ its a FAB website but I think Im going to have to start putting a lot more money in the Kate Wants Pretty Things Fund before I can buy everything I want!

Dietary Specials and Double Figures!

Hello again! Apologies again for my total lapse in bloggage, I've just been so scatty recently, its a miracle in itself that I've made it through the days unscathed by calamity!
As some of you may have noticed my number of followers has reached double figures (hoorah!) so I'm pleased as punch and would like to say thank you to all my followers (all ten of you!).
I also received a lovely email from the super lovely Becky from the marketing department at Dietary Specials ( http://www.dietaryspecials.co.uk/ ) . She gave me some really lovely comments and feedback on my blog and my recipes and asked if i would possibly like to contribute a recipe for a Dietary Specials recipe book that's in the pipe line.
After jumping on my bed screaming for hours I of course emailed back to say I'd love to! My name could possibly be in print, the only time I've ever seen my name in print is on a bank statement and on the labels my mum used to get made for me to stick on my school books!
Anyway, I just wanted to say a huge-mungas THANK YOU and hello to Becky (you can't see, but I'm waving Becky!).
Some Love-R-Ly recipes going up in the next few days, so stay tuned!
Ps- Check out the Dietary Specials website by clicking on Dietary Specials in the Links to Love side bar.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Lovely Lemon Curd Souffle's

Here we go then, good luck! Don't worry too much, if a ditsy dope like me can make a souffle there's more than enough hope for the rest of the world!


For the lemon curd
  • Grated zest and juice of a lemon
  • 1 Egg
  • 40g (1 1/2 oz) Golden caster sugar
  • 25g (1 oz) cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  • 1 Teaspoon of cornflour
For the souffles
  • 3 Eggs
  • Grated zest and juice of a lemon
  • 50g (2 oz) Golden caster sugar
  • 1 Dessestspoon of golden caster sugar
You will also need 4 ramekins, buttered and popped on a small baking tray.

  • Make the lemon curd by whisking the egg in saucepan, then add the rest of the lemon curd ingredients and pop the pan over a medium heat and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens, this won't take long, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat right down to the lowest setting and let the curd gently simmer for a minute still whisking, you don't want lumpy curd!
  • Remove from the heat and divide the curd between the bases of the ramekins. You can do this in advance, which is especially useful if your having this pud at the end of a dinner party because it can a good few hours before your guests arrive and saves you doing it later. Remember to cover and leave somewhere at room temperature.
  • For the souffles,pre-heat the oven to gas 3 (170C, 325F) separate the eggs, putting the yolks into a big bowl and the whites in a super clean bowl. Using an electric whisk or if you like to work your guns whilst cooking use a manual whisk, whisk the egg whites to the stiff-peak stage which should take 4-5 minutes (nigh on forever if your going manual!) next add the dessertspoon of sugar and whisk for 30seconds to a minute.
  • Next add the zest and lemon juice and the rest of the sugar to the yolks and mix for 10 seconds. Now add a spoonful of the whisked whites and fold them into the yolks just to loosen the mixture up, then fold in the rest of the whites gently, keeping as much air in the mixture as possible, DO NOT MIX OR STIR VIGOROUSLY, gently fold the whites in, it helps to use big sweeping movements with your arm to keep the air in mixture,think up-over-round, I'm serious! Yes you will defiantly look like a dipstick doing this, best do it out of sight of others!
  • Spoon the mixture into the ramekins and run a (clean!) finger round the edge of the ramekins so the edges are clean. Place in the oven on the centre shelf for 15-17 minutes or until golden (this is one GF pud that will go golden!). Don't open the oven to take a peek, you may have to sit on your hands to stop yourself doing this because the temptation to see if they've risen is very great!
  • Once golden and (hopefully) risen remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes, it will sink slightly but according to Delia this is to be expected. Dust with icing sugar and serve up to your guests (with a smug smile!).
Top Tips for Smug Souffles
  • Keep your eggs yolks cold, it makes them easier to separate, but make sure you whisk your whites at room temperature, it makes them easier to whisk and you'll get more air into them.
  • Don't over whisk your whites, you'll kill your air bubbles and that makes them sad!
  • Make sure the bowl you whisk your egg whites in is super spanking clean, any dirt or grease will hinder the egg whites in their quest to rise.
  • According to the cooking snobs a copper bowl is your fail safe to perfect souffles. as much as I'd like a copped bowl (because they're pretty and It'd make me look a proper foodie) a normal bowl works just as well, don't let the food snobs coerce you into buying things you don't need!
  • Make sure all your ingredients are weighed out perfectly, one ounce over and your gonna fluff that recipe up quicker than you can say Creme Brulee. A conscientious cook is a clever cook, don't rush it just to look flash!

Dirty Harry

Let me set the scene for you...It's the end of a good evening, it's getting late and there's one more thing to before you go to sleep..your nervous but you cross your fingers and hope for the best..you wait, you keep checking..but horror of horrors it.just.won't.rise. You blame yourself..is it me? Is it something I did?
I am of course talking about the nightmare world of the souffle!
At the start of my souffle career I was totally smug and confident in my souffle making skills. The first time I made the Lemon souffle recipe I'm posting today they rose brilliantly (beginners luck i thought), the second time i made lemon souffle for my Bessie Anna and they rose even better than the first time (I'm a pro i think), third time the sodding things don't even rise above the rim of the ramekin! what did i do wrong?! The truth is there is no rhyme or reason to souffle success or failure which is both completely frustrating but all these more pleasing and smug inducing when they go right! i have a few tips to sway the odds to a well risen souffle in your favour.
I also have a LOVELY Lemon Curd Souffle, it really is the yummiest thing you will ever taste and i know you'll love it, but all things considered i will understand if you don't want to attempt it but know this..even top chefs have no fool proof formula for a perfect souffle, even GF Food Hero Phil Vickery himself says there's no super secret to a risen souffle its just luck, so you've got to ask yourself one question: Do you feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?