Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Pinkmas

Sorry in advance to any male readers or those with severe aversion to pink, I just couldn't help but do another pink Christmas post...it's as involuntary as wanting to smack Lee Evans in the face. So sit back and feast your eyes on this little lot (including the gorgeous Skye's beautifully made knitted headbands from her shop 'i am hand-made').

From left-right: Via weheartit.com , i am hand-made , John Lewis, Paperchase, Paperchase, Via weheartit.com , Sainsburys, Via  weheartit.com , John Lewis.


From left-right Sainsburys, Via weheartit.com , Via Etsy, Via weheartit.com , Via weheartit.com , Accessorize , Paperchase, Paperchase, Via weheartit.com

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Ever-so Nice Eggnog Creams


I've got to be honest and say I'm not keen on traditional X-mas desserts like Figgy Pudding, and since I became chef de jour at casa de Jeffs the responsibility has fallen to me to do the pud for Christmas day, and the past few years it has gone well (although we shan't mention the disaster with a Jamie yule log recipe...I'm still bitter).
Last year I made these Eggnog creams and they were yummy and not massively heavy either which you don't want when your so full to bursting with turkey and 'tatoes that you couldn't even wedge a sprout in. So if you fancy something different from the run of the mill Fig-Pud or X-mas cake give these creams a go, you won't regret it.


Ingredients
  • 300ml Double Cream
  • 500ml Milk
  • 60ml Brandy (if you want to make the pud alcohol free skip the brandy)
  • 1/2 Vanilla extract
  • 1 Vanilla Pod
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tsp of nutmeg
  • 4 Large egg yolks
  • 110g Caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Sheets of gelatin
Extras
  • Electric whisk
  • Around 8 glasses or bowls that will hold around 150ml worth of the creams.
Method
  • Split your vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Throw the pod and seeds in a nice big saucepan with the milk and the cinnamon stick and simmer over a medium heat until just below boiling point (Don't boil it!). Take it off the heat and let it all stew away and infuse for about an hour.
  • In a bowl beat together the egg yolks, brandy, sugar, the salt and vanilla extract with your electric whisk (unless your a glutton for punishment and want to do it by hand). Keep whisking until the mixture is pale, stiff and thick. 
  • Next reheat the milk mixture that's been infusing for an hour over a the lowest heat and then sieve it over the egg/brandy mix. Give it a ruddy good stir.
  • Get yourself a clean pan and pour in the milk and egg mix and cook over an uber low hear for about 4 minutes to make your custard which should be smooth and lump free (don't overcook).
  • In a bowl soak your gelatin leaves until they're soft. Ring them out to remove the excess water. Throw in with your custard and give it all a good stir until the gelatin dissolves.
  • Get yourself a big bowl or fill the sink with iced water and pour your custard into another bowl and then place it into the iced water, giving it a stir every now and then until its cooled down and has thickened up, (you don't want it to set).
  • Whisk your double cream until its thickened and peaking. Fold it gently into the cooled custard until well mixed and spoon into your serving glasses or bowls.
  • After around 4hours the mixture will have set and will be ready for the eating...dust them with an arty farty grating of nutmeg and after a couple of glasses of mulled wine try not to let it end up in your lap.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine 2010

Friday, 9 December 2011

Majestic Mulling Syrup

Can you tell I'm starting to run out of adjectives for my recipe posts? The recipe can be used to make mulled wine or cider, although please forgive me for having not tried it with cider since even mentioning the word cider brings back haunting memories of my first ever escapade into alcohol at 13 which resulted in much barfing and eventually being picked up by my dad after my friends exhausted their combined powers of patience and nursing care as as I lay gagging in a bush.

Ingredients
  • 2 Fresh Oranges
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks (I get mine from Holland&Barrett)
  • Small cube of ginger
  • 1/2 Whole nutmeg (You can get packs of whole nutmeg in Holland&Barrett for cheap)
  • 9oz Caster sugar (granulated will do)
  • 6 Whole allspice berries
  • 4 Whole cloves
Extras
  • Bottles that can hold around 800ml of the mulling syrup (sterilised, see how here)
  • Very fine sieve
Method
  • Pop a litre of water in a heavy bottomed saucepan (you'll need a fairly big pan). Slice your oranges in half and throw them in with the rest of the ingredients and the nutmeg which you need to grate before adding. 
  • Over a low heat bring the whole lot to a simmer. Make sure all the sugar has dissolved before turning down the heat and simmering for  another 20 minutes. 
  • Leave it to cool down and then strain it.
  • If your not using your syrup right away you need to reheat it all until its hot, then pour into your bottles and seal them shut while its hot.
  • If you want to use the syrup then and there (and why the hell wouldn't you eh?) heat 400mls of syrup with around 750ml of cider or red wine. Perhaps save getting sozzled until after you've put up the tree or risk being fished out of your spruce by a family member.
  • PS. Keep the syrup dark and cool and it should keep for up to 3 months. 
Adapted from BBC Good Food

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Dear Diary

I haven't done a self indulgent update/diary post for yonks have I? This is either indicative of my rather uneventful life or my bone idleness. I prefer you believed the latter!

First off...how do we all like the new look of things around here? I finally got round to putting up the header my gorgeous Skye designed for me a few months back, and I love it. Remember this gorgeous little cupcake cross stitch Skye did for me a while back? Well she's only gone and opened her own online shop i am hand-made stuffed with loads of gorgeous cross stitches (and loads of other lovely things in the pipeline) everything is on sale at the moment so check it out for perfect stocking fillers.

It's a bit of a work in progress as far as the blog makeover is concerned, I wanted to get the whole lot done at once but I've not be terribly well again so I've had to do it in drips and drabs when I've felt well enough, plus I'm not exactly what you would call a whizz with the HTML so sometimes I find it as hard going as my gran finds trying to get out of a beanbag, but I thought my little old blog deserved some TLC after making the Cosmo Blog Awards shortlist!

Ruby over at Rubelle's Moon is giving herself the ultimate Gluten-Free Challenge of trying to cook various gluten-free recipes...kudos to Ruby though, she's doing some tricky things I have never attempted like puff pastry and naan bread. I challenged her too make gluten-free bagels, and gave her my mincemeat recipe shes making as part of her challenge. Shes lovely so go check out her blog and give her loads of support and encouragement!


Caleigh from Gluten Freek has organised a gluten-free 12 days of Christmas and asked myself and a few other gluten-free blogger's to be involved. the premise being that we all cook something different on each of the 12 days. I called dibs on the Gingerbread recipe which coincides nicely with my own Christmas challenge...last year it was to make my own mincemeat with the ultimate intention to whip up gluten-free mince pies for the first time ever...this year I'm attempting a gluten-free gingerbread house. I'm both excited and absolutely bricking it...I don't possess the gentlest of touches so the likely hood that i muck the house up on the first few attempts by putting a finger through the roof or snapping a wall in half out of sheer excitement is very high.

I've created a new page on the blog which is dedicated to readers pictures of my recipes. So if anyone has had a go at any of my recipes and has any snaps do pass them along and I'll whack you up in the hall of fame 'Your Katie-boo Bakes and Makes' what a snazzy page name, eh? Email me at thekatieboobaker@hotmail.co.uk or drop me a tweet @katieboobaker .

A few weeks ago we got a 14week old kitten from the Charity Worthing Cats Protection League-although with this little physco cat it's us that needs protecting more than him. He will eat anything, chase anything and hang off anything. He launches himself at your pj toggles and chews on any stray wisps of hair escaping my pony tail. We literally haven't a clue what the crapping Nora we're going to do at Christmas when the little bugger is left alone with the tree or presents. He's scales the curtains like a commando and uses my room like an obstacle course and I can imagine him mulling over the Christmas tree as some sort of challenge he must complete, like a kitty Everest of sorts. Christ.

Anyway. This has turned out to be a rather wordy post and its going to be rather picture heavy too, many apologies. I shall hopefully be back tomorrow with a Twice as Nice post.

Bought various winter woollies to keep the cold out. Dietary Specials kindly sent me some of the new recipe frozen goodies to try out and I can confirm they were all very yummy. I've started drawing again in an attempt at diverting my attention when The Other Bowel Problems are causing me pain, it isn't always ideal especially when all I want to do is lay down but its helping.
Sorted my baking cupboard out in an attempt at order before the Xmas baking rush is upon me. I'm living off coffee and fruit tea's at the moment with it being so cold. Been trying to sort out my recipe books and order them but I'm rapidly running out of bookshelf space.
Sainsburys' very nicely sent me a selection of the new items from the Free From range, reviews coming soon! Enjoying finding gluten-free goodies, loving this g/f cereal, miso soup and taco trays.

My gorgeous bracelet from Becky as my consolation prize for not winning the Cosmo blog awards! Keeping my hot water bottle topped up in this weather and while I've been poorly and spraying my pillows with this sleep therapy spray to help me relax at night. I've been flicking through my Kath Kidson 'Sew' book for pressie ideas to make for my friends.
Found a lovely frame for my lovely Flo print from Natasha at The Secret Tea Party, discovering gluten-free chips are available at my local chippie ALL THE TIME and once a month you can get g/f onion rings,sausages and fish! Here's Sleeping Physco himself. Finally getting film for my Diana.
Mum bought me this a few weeks ago after I made the Cosmo blog shortlist, the F got bent after the whole thing fell off the top of my wardrobe and onto her head.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Just A Bunch Of Hocus Pocus


Since I’m 26, and no longer in a position where trick or treating and dressing up in an Disney Princess Costume won’t look weird/creepy (no matter how short and childlike I appear) I have to satisfy my inner child and love of this time of year with Hocus Pocus marathons and marvelling at various blogger skills with a knife when it comes to pumpkin carving (Looking at you Beth!).
Although as I’ve said before these are about the only few things I love about Halloween. As I’m officially A Grumpy Old Cow now I usually kick off Hallow’s eve by unplugging the doorbell to deter children from begging for Cadbury's Giant Buttons and Haribo at my house. But I have to admit I do miss dressing up and knocking back a skin-full and then attempting to gain entry to a club which is filled to the rafters with girls dressed as slutty versions of every possible variation of animal. Many a year I enjoyed drunkenly trying to apply cat whiskers to my own face with liquid eyeliner which I’d be trying to hastily rub off the next day on the way to a lecture.
Anyway, I thought I'd make the effort to get into the Halloween swing of things with a I want/I love  list of goodies for you to have a butchers at. 

From left-right: Skull and cross bones ice cube tray, Bat cookie cutter, Plastic candelabra, Spiderweb placement, Halloween bunting, skull plug stopper, Spiderweb cake stand, Misted tumbler, Candle.


From Left-Right: Gluten-free carrot&ginger cake, Pumpkin party bags, Squash soup, Beth's awesome pumpkin carving, Pumpkin soup, Hummingbird Halloween cupcakes, Bodum whisker, Halloween pegs, Paper lanterns.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Speedy Sides: Edition 2

I'm usually the sort of person who is repelled by fruit in salads, or nuts in curries or any of that other faff. Its like drinking a pint of water when you need a wee, it goes against the grain. But saying all that my dad made this marvelous little salad from the September issue of Delicious magazine (which if you don't read you should since it's awesome) and after I tinkered about with it and made it to my liking, I thought I'd shove it (belatedly) up on here for you to have a butchers at. I know strictly speaking we're well into autumn and in this weather we're way beyond thinking about salads, but this salad is warm and with all the orange-ness it doesn't look a bit Halloween-Esq (clutching desperately at those straws now).




      Ingredients
          Total Time:20 minutes
  • 3 Nectarines
  • A good old glug of olive oil
  • 3 Tsp's of caster sugar
  • Mixed baby leaf salad
  • 200g Of feta or Gorgonzola (or any crumbly sour cheese)
For the dressing you'll need...
  • A Tbsp glug of white wine vinegar
  • A tsp of runny honey
  • A tsp of gluten-free grainy mustard
  • 5 Tbsp's of olive oil
Method
  • Start off by halving your nectarines and getting rid of the stones, then cut all the halves into nice chunky wedges.
  • Mix up your dressing by popping all the ingredients in a clean jam jar and giving the whole lot a really good shake until its well mixed and yummy.
  • You don't have to use a griddle pan but its the best thing for cooking your nectarines. Pop it over a medium/high heat until its getting on for pretty hot. 
  • Dunk your nectarine pieces in the olive oil,making sure they're all well coated and then carefully place them on the hot griddle. your going to want to cook them for around 30-40 seconds on each side but be careful they don't burn at such warm temperatures.
  • Once you've cooked them on both sides, sprinkle on the caster sugar and balsamic vinegar. It will make a bit of  a splutter (like your parents when you used to go out in a mini skirt when you were 15), but it will reduce down straight away.
  • Take the nectarines out the pan straight away or they'll burn, you just want to glaze the fruit not preserve them for pickling.
  • Assemble your baby leaves and feta on a plate after tossing them in a bowl with 80% off the dressing.
  • Arrange in a fart arty sort of way on the plate, laying your nectarines in the most pretentious assemble as you can manage and pour over the rest of the dressing.
  • Serve with steak or a bit of white fish with a flourish and a 'I know I'm awesome,what of it' gleam in your eye.

Blimey.


Well bugger me. Not actually mind, metaphorically.
When I was umming and ahhing over my depression post over the last 8months, re-reading it, picking holes in it and bottling it every time I came to publish it, I never ever thought it would get the reaction it did. For me, publishing such a personal post meant only preparing for the an inevitable shit storm of possible ignorant or mean comments.
Oh but how wrong I was. The cynic is eating humble pie my friends (and oh it’s a bittersweet pill/pie to swallow) because 100% of the feedback I received was positive, supportive, kind and quite frankly overwhelming.
I never wrote the post with a view to getting sympathy because Christ knows I’d rather receive sympathy for my love of syntho pop than for being saddled with a mental illness. Publishing the post put me in the company of those who were out the depression closet (No hope of finding Narnia in that MDF monstrosity) and other than making me feel extremely vulnerable it put me in the position of being able to talk about my depression in a (however misguided) attempt to create not just more understanding but also for anyone- from a long term follower, or someone stumbling across my blog on the off chance- to find some comfort however small in the fact someone else is out there feeling the same thing.
When your caught up in depression, as I’m sure any sufferer will tell you, its very easy to get spun up in how YOU feel, it can be hard to imagine that there are other people everyday going through the same thing.
For me, acknowledging that to myself and finally when I decided to write this post marked a significant turning point when I started to think of my depression in less selfish terms, and started to think in terms of ‘how can I turn this shit into gold’. Not actual gold like, I’m not David Blaine, but it has taken me a long  time to sieve through the crap to syphon off something positive not just in my depression but my physical illness as well.
Not that writing the post wasn’t cathartic to a point, but it was never my intention to use it in an exercise in self therapy.
So, thank-you to everyone who read the post, commented on it and tweeted or emailed me about it, this might have you running for the sick buckets but it made all the stress and worry about posting it all worth it and it meant an awful lot to me that people took the time to tell me what the post meant to them personally. It was like being  Professor X in his little brain pod and finding all the mutants all over the world, I felt like I was opening up a (good) can of worms. I don’t want to jinx myself but saying this, but writing that post was a big turning point for me in getting on the long and dusty road to getting better, in every sense of the word.
But listen guys, you can’t let this stuff go to my head, promise? But be gentle, yeah? I’ve got depression over here :P

I just want to say a massive thank-you to everyone who nominated and then voted for me for the Cosmo Blog Awards. Sadly I didn't win, but the awesome Skinny Latte Strikes Back won in my category and the lovely girls over at Where Are My Knees? won the commended blog which is fab news! I was gutted I couldn't go, but as per usual I was at the mercy of TOBP's but it looked like everyone had an amazing time (the jammy lot) and all the girls looked gorgeous and sparkly. So Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

I guess thats why they call it the blues




You weren't 'alf right Elt!
 There’s nothing quite like the immortal words ‘I have depression’ to piss all over a conversation (although ‘I used to be a man’ might do it) and there will always be someone (friend/family or stranger) who upon hearing this news who will bolt for the hills like Seabiscuit.
Lets face it though, there’s so many misconceptions and misunderstandings attached to depression and mental illness its no wonder sufferers don’t tell anyone what they’re going through. And crap as it is, there will always be people who jump ship as soon as you bring the subject up.
Depression, like Enrique Iglesias’ mole, is something we all know is there, but a thing we just never acknowledge. With 9% * of us in the UK suffering from the big ‘D’  and an estimated 450million people worldwide who will suffer from a mental health disorder at some point in their lives, you’d think we’d all be talking about it a bit more, but it seems the less we do the more it gains the enigmatic mystery illness status that people avoid talking about and have trouble understanding.

So why am I discussing my own depression on here -a blog about coeliacs and baking- you might ask (and Christ knows I have asked myself the same question!) and I have to be honest and say although its beyond hard for me to share (I’d have an easier time giving up an eyeball), let alone talk about with anyone, I think above all else I suppose I wanted to set an example that depression can happen to anyone, that anyone can get lumped with it, even the most unlikely of people (not that I’m necessarily unlikely mind).  I wanted to show that depression doesn’t mean you’re insane (however bonkers you can appear-like me) or thats its similar to feeling ‘a bit blue’ like you would on a bad hair/big arse day.

But it’s not laying in bed all day listening to the Titanic soundtrack with a face like a slapped arse crying into your pillow. It encompasses symptoms beyond feeling sad, being low and not being yourself, the particulars of which I hope you’ll understand I won’t be talking about in this post.
I can attest that admitting you have depression can be as difficult as having it, and trying to explain it to someone who hasn’t experienced it (whether having it or dealing with someone who has) can be a bigger ball-ache than teaching a German Shepherd Steven Hawkings A Brief History of time.

In the almost ten years that I have suffered with depression I’ve seen varied reactions from the people I’ve told, from a friend who looked at me with a look of astonishment that one as bonkers as me was prowling the streets and not locked up in a padded room, another who asked ‘couldn’t you just snap out of it?’ as if it hadn’t occurred to me that if I shook my head hard enough, rang Jim’ll fix it or get Harry Potter to wave his wand the problem would go away, to the people who ‘get it’ and understand.
Looking back its fairly easy to map a pattern in my depression over the years because it tends to rear its head in times of my life that have been hard, sad or stressful.
This time the finger points at the culprit of The Other Bowel Problems (what the ruddy nora else,eh?) slowly zapping my confidence and self esteem which (queue violins) has left me feeling depressed, anxious and isolated.
In the past I’ve had counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and various anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs. This time around I’ve tried to steer away from the medication since I already take enough tablets to rattle like a Maraca.
I’m not going to lie…in the past depression has made me do and say things that I’m ashamed of. It made me selfish and my life became as insular as a test tube and I never stopped to think how it was affecting my family and friends.
I was the Regina George of depression; a grade A Queen Bitch and I look back now and cringe. Time and hindsight has given me the luxury of perhaps dealing with my depression a bit better, not necessarily getting over it any easier but defiantly working through it with a more level head then I perhaps had when I was 19.
The Other Bowel Problems (we’re going to have an entire strings section by the end of this) have stripped me of my formally outgoing, bubbly personality and gobshite mouth and ability to chat all sorts of shit to anyone that I came into contact with.
With all the stress of TOBP’s, my mum always says I’d be forgiven for being depression. But I will always think of my  depression as a weakness and a failing on my part.
I always regard anyone who suffers from depression and can acknowledge it openly in much higher esteem, then I would ever afford myself. And while I have mega respect for anyone who talks about his or her depression openly, when it comes to discussing my own it feels disgustingly self-indulgent.
I know that when my bowel problems get better that my depression won’t suddenly disappear and that I’ll probably have to work as hard to get better mentally as I did to get well physically.

But I’ve come to think of it like this:
My depression is a room that I wanted painted yellow, but the decorators have come in and painted it black instead, and although I don’t and will never love it, I’m learning to live with it.

Thanks to Skye and Chris.

For more information, help or advice on depression and any other mental health problems contact Mind, Mental Health Foundation, Sane, and The Samaritans

*Stats taken from the Mental Health Foundation, http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

Friday, 30 September 2011

Twice as Nice...1 ingredient, 2 ways. Edition 1: Pastry

Another new feature I've dragged out for the depths of my imagination (which, judging by my groundbreaking titles is more like a puddle than a never ending abyss of creativeness).
As you probably gathered from the highly innovative concept, each edition will feature one ingredient used two different ways. The two recipes featured here came about after I was sent the Dietary Specials new recipe Shortcrust Pastry.
I must preface this now by saying this is NOT a sponsored post, I just really love this product. In fact I'd go so far as to say its probably in my top three of favourite gluten-free products ever. Not only because it tastes great, but because it saves me from the colossal ball-ache of making pastry from scratch. Plus you can freeze it until you need it. AND you can roll it out without the whole lot falling apart and sticking to the rolling pin, making you want to throw yourself on the floor in a grown woman tantrum. In short, I am a slut for this pastry.
The first recipe is one that I created when trying desperately to think of something with strawberries in as my recipe that could be made for a Breast Cancer Care Strawberry Tea Party. I wanted something (other than the run of the mill cupcakes) that anyone hosting a party might fancy rustling up.
I don't like to blow my own trumpet, but this recipe is one of my most genius ideas to date. Not genius in a MENSA kind of way, but ye gads its ruddy bloomin' scrummy.
I'll be honest and say the strawberry curd is a wee bit of arsing around, but I promise its so very worth it that it could be sponsered by Loreal.
The second recipe is for a sweet onion tart adapted from an ancient recipe I picked up in Waitrose when I was at uni in Sheffield.
Tarts and quiches with a bit of salad are so nice this time of year around the end of summer and unless your Mrs or Mr Cast Iron Guts you'll never eat a whole tart all at once, so you can pop it in your lunchbox or have it warm for your tea the next day. Economic, no? George Osbourne could learn a thing or two from me.Fact.


 Ingredients
  • Nice big wedge of butter (around 25g)
  • 2 Large red onions
  • 1 Large white onion
  • 200g Dietary Specials Shortcrust Pastry (take out a few hours in advance to defrost)
  • 330ml Creme fraiche (go lite if your counting the cals)
  • 3 Eggs (I use free-range)
  • Generous pinch of nutmeg
  • 15-20g Chives
  • 150 Cheese (Emmental is ideal, but a mild Cheddar works just as well)
 Extras
  • Quiche or flan tin
  • Rolling pin
  • Small sprinkle of plain flour for dusting
  • Baking beans or something to weigh down the parchment during blind baking
Method
  • Throw the butter to melt in a nice big frying pan. Get a sharp knife (mind fingers!) and chop the white onion up finely, then slice the red onions up thinly. Pop the lot in the pan and cook gently over a low heat for around 30-40mins. Give them a stir every now and then. 
  • When the onions are soft and starting to go all lovely and caramelised take the pan off the heat and set it aside to cool.
  • Whack your oven up to gas 5. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll out your pastry and use to line your tart tin. Use a bit of parchment to line the pastry and pop in a few baking beans or some rice and blind bake for 10mins.
  • Take the tin from the oven and take out the parchment and baking beans and pop the back in the oven for 5minutes, it should colour slightly.
  • Get yourself a big ol' bowl and pop in the creme fraiche, eggs and the pinch of nutmeg. Use a pair of scissors snip the chives into the bowl, season everything with salt and pepper and spoon in the cooked onions and around half of the cheese. Make sure everything is mixed thoroughly and pour the lot into the pastry case and scatter over the rest of the cheese.
  • Return the filled pastry case to the oven and bake until golden and set and the mixture no longer has a wobble. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5minutes before you eat it or tuck in when its cold. Grab a fork, a glass of Chablis and tuck in.Yummers.


   Ingredients
  • 250g Strawberries
  • 150g Caster sugar
  • 2 Eggs and 2 egg whites (I use free-range)
  • 60g Butter
  • 200g Dietary Specials Shortcrust Pastry (take out of the freezer in time to defrost)
    Extras
  • Electric whisk
  • Tart/flan tin
  • Baking parchment
  • Baking beans or rice/lentils
  • Rolling pin
     Method
  • Crank your oven up to gas 5. Lightly flour your worktop and get to work kneading the pastry for a few minutes and then roll out using a floured rolling pin. Line a tart/flan tin with the pastry and then line the pastry with some baking parchment and throw in the baking beans or rice.
  • Pop the pastry in the oven. After around 10mins take it out and remove the parchment and beans and return it to the oven for another 5-7mins. It should be slightly browned but not drastically different in colour. Leave somewhere to cool while you get on with the curd.
  • Lop your strawberries tops off and halve them, popping them in a decent sized pan with a few tbsp's of cold water over a medium heat.
  • Keep the pan at a simmer for 5minutes or until your strawb's are soft. Transfer the strawb's from the pan into a sieve over a clean bowl (must be heatproof) using a slotted spoon. 
  • Get yourself a metal spoon and push your strawb's through the sieve. Add the pulp to the strained strawb syrup left in the pan. 
  • Next you need to make yourself a Bain-Marie which is a beyond preposterous way of saying 'bowl over pan of water'. You will need a bowl that fits into your pan without touching the cm or two of water that's in the bottom. 
  • Bring the water to a simmer over a medium heat and add 50g of sugar, the eggs (beaten before hand) and butter to the bowl and give it all a proper good stir and keep stirring gently and continuously for about 10minutes.
  • Crank the heat up and keeping stirring for another 8-10minutes.Stirring, I know, can get beyond boring...don't be tempted to stop because it will curdle and then you'll be so vexed you'll throw the lot at the wall.
  • When the mixture starts to thicken, take off the heat and pour immediately into the pastry case and set aside while you make the meringue.
  • Get yourself an OCD clean bowl and make sure your whisk is spanking clean too (any grease etc will stop the meringue from rising, and if you stopped stirring when I told you not to with the curd, your already going to be cross without flat meringues).
  • Separate your remaining eggs and plop the whites into the bowl. Using an electric whisk (or a hand whisk if your a martyr to the cause) beat the eggs whites on a medium speed until stiff and foamy. 
  • Add a tbsp at a time of the remaining 100g of sugar and continue to whisk it all until the meringue is very stiff, white and glossy. You can  risk it for a biscuit and try the old 'bowl over the head' trick if you want, but if its forming peaks I'd pass on the biscuit risking!
  • Spoon the meringue over the curd in the pastry case, make sure you can't see any of the curd.
  • Pop back in the oven for 8-10minutes, the meringue should be slightly golden on top. Leave for a few minutes to cool before eating, or gobble it down directly from the oven and burn your entire digestive tract. Claim ownership over this recipe when people tell you how tummy gurgling awesome it is...I'll let you just this one time.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cosmo Girl

Here I am bundled under my Slanket, rough as old toast, looking thoroughly white and spiteful...but I care not a jot...because I've been shortlisted for the Cosmo Blog Awards!!!!
You'll probably already know if you follow me on Twitter or live within screaming distance of my house, but I actually had no idea until Skye rang me late last night. When she said 'You need to go online now' I thought my readers had staged some sort of mutiny against me or something, I had no idea what was going on!

I was beyond surprised to have made the shortlist, I know everyone says that, but lets be honest my blog is small and very niche and I never expected to get very far, especially when I compare my blog to others in my category, including the lovely girls at Where Are My Knees? 
Its great to be in the company of so many blogs I love, read and admire, so good luck to everyone who made the shortlist across the categories.

I know my posts have been few and far between recently but I 100% love my blog and I put my all into it, and all the lovely comments, tweets and emails I receive from you gorgeous lot keep me feeling inspired and encourage me to carry on writing and thinking of new posts and recipes.

I'm flying the flag for Gluten-Free (and baking) so if you'd like to see me win in my category; Health, Diet and Fitness click on the link below, it would make me one very happy girl if you could vote for me!


Monday, 19 September 2011

Creature From The Black Lagoon

Hello my lovelies! Tis I, back from the depths of blogging hiatus! Thank-you to those who have stuck around to see me blog another day and hello to any new readers!

Of course my absence, as always, can be blamed on none other than the No.1 culprit The Other Bowel Problems.
The weekend before last I was back in A&E again, clutching my poor tummy and babbling incoherently in my state of dehydrated delirium. Not how I'd usually like to spend my weekends, no matter how much morphine is involved. A nice nurse tried to conjure up a vein from the abyss of my arm and I was finally rehydrated and medicated up to the eyeballs.
It always seems that whenever I'm in hospital I'm only ever designated the young, good looking male doctors. Which on the face of it wouldn't be too bad, if my ailments were of the non embarrassing variety.
After reeling of every intimate detail of my bowels to a dishy A&E doctor I was then wheeled round to the Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU) where I then had to repeat the same conversation again with another handsome specimen, who I could hear outside at the nurses station snapping on a pair of sterile gloves while I lay on a sweat box of a hospital bed imagining what fresh hell could be about to occur that entailed the wearing of sterile gloves.
However I managed to side step the bum exam he intended for me by protesting I'd already been violated in A&E. Which I hadn't, but there was a flying bacon's chance I was got to let dishy doc numero deux anywhere near the junk on my trunk.
Anyone who has been in hospital will tell you its not the restful place it proclaims to be. When your not having your veins sized up, your being x-rayed, having your Ob's taken or being interrogated by all and sundry. Besides all this there is always plenty to keep you  awake, which was especially true of  my ward that night.
The lady in the bay next to mine, although perfectly able to walk seemed to enjoy punishing the nursing staff by being completely unco-operative and unhelpful every time she needed the commode 'I need a tinkle, NURRRRSEEE!', thus forcing the tiny Filipino staff nurse and equally dinky HCA to awkwardly maneuver her onto the bog on wheels.
Even after all this palaver she still manage to tiddle on the floor, which escaped the nurses notice up until the moment when putting the lady back in bed she waded through the puddle, booming in a voice that was surprisingly loud for someone the size of a Polly Pocket 'Oh darling, look! LOOK! You peed on the floor! Bed pan for you next time!'. 
I then forced myself to stay awake during ward rounds,which is my favourite part of the hospital day (after painkiller time) as you get to eavesdrop and find out whats wrong with everyone else on the ward. Not as if its hard really, since a peice of material pulled round a hospital bed hardly keeps people from being unable to hear whats going on behind it.
I was also pleased that I was awake to witness the effeminate cleaner mopping the floor with one hand on his hip humming 'I Want To Break Free' by Queen.

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Despite all this hospital high jinx, I managed to escape and have been moaning and bitching in the comfort of my own home ever since.
I've got to be honest and say that I've been finding my illness very hard to cope with recently, but I've devised a battle plan for my blog which will hopefully mean that I will be posting much more regularly and thus help to distract myself from feeling cruddy.
The Other Bowel Problems have dominated my life far too much recently and I've had to cancel some dates which have been really important to me, including one of my oldest friends Liz's wedding, which I was heartbroken to miss.
It annoys the crap out of me that my illness dictates so much of my life, and its all very well for people on the outside looking in to say 'well you shouldn't let it dictate your life' but with all the will in the world I cannot make my body behave just because I want it too.

Anyway. I have tonnes of recipes and interviews and all sorts of nice things in the the pipeline for you lovely lot.
Just starting uni? Head on over to Saara's blog The Gluten Free Student Cookbook for tips, advice and recipes on being a Coeliac student. Saara's lovely, and I've had a chance to get to know her a bit better through Twitter and she's a diamond so go check out her blog.
Skye posted an absolutely yummy looking cake recipe on her blog at the weekend, which I cannot wait to try. Skye has been an amazing friend to me over the past year and now that shes moved to Brighton I can't wait to spend some time with her.

Buckets of peppermint tea in my favourite mug have been keeping me going.

Filling in my pretty recipe file that Steve's mum bought me for my birthday this year.

My Dad and I are in love with Delicious mag at the moment


The super cute cupcake cross stitch that Skye sent me


Cosy new winter jammies.


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Guest Post: Stevie's Super Duper Gluten-Free Spag Bog





Since I've been on my last legs over the past few weeks, young Steven gallantly offered to do a recipe for you guys,which he surprised me with a few weeks ago but which I have only just got round to posting today. After 6 years of trying to feed a fussy and belligerent Coeliac he's pretty much a pro at gluten-free dinners, and his spag bog is no exception. Where my cooking and baking equipment is mostly pink, Steve's is all very fancy and comes from those locked cabinets they have in John Lewis. He has these Japanese knives that I daren't even look at it, let alone pick it up.
If your a veggie the beef mince can easily be swapped for Quorn mince with no ill effects to the recipe and the same can be said if you want to swap the beef for turkey which is lower in fat for anyone wanting a 'lite' version.
I hope you all enjoy the recipe, although don't you lot go liking his better than mine now!

Serves 6 or 4 very hungry people

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 Celery sticks, finely diced
  • 1 Medium onion, finely diced
  • 6 Chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
  • 250g Mince beef
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar (Look for a g/f version)
  • 1 Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A small handful of dried mix herbs
  • A small bay leaf
  • 6 Handfuls of gluten free dried pasta (Doves Farm/Sainsbury's Free From/Dietary Specials)

Method

  1. Finely dice the carrots, celery and onion.  Then gently heat a large saucepan on the hob, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  Add the three vegetables to the pan with a pinch of salt and slowly sweat them down for 5-10mins, you shouldn’t hear a hard frying noise just a gentle cooking.
  2. Now increase the heat and add the mince, season with a pinch of salt, pepper and stir until all the meat has browned.  Now add the balsamic vinegar (I just pour the vinegar for 4 seconds instead of measuring), it will hiss and make a lot of noise as it reduces.  Stir occasionally to coat everything.  You will hear a change in the cooking when you add the vinegar, when the noise returns to a frying one; you know it’s reduced enough.
  3. Now stir in the 3 cloves of crushed garlic (or finely chop if you don’t have a crusher) and cook for 1 min.  Then add the finely diced mushrooms, mixed dried herbs, bay leaf and tomatoes.  Then fill the empty tin with cold water from the tap and add that also, finish with a big pinch of salt, pepper and a thorough stir to mix everything up.
  4. Now turn the heat down to its lowest mark and leave on the hob for 1½-2 hours, stir every 30mins or so to stop it catching.  After that time it will have reduced considerably to a wonderfully smelling thick sauce.
  5. 10mins before the end cook your pasta in well salted water, when it has gone soft to the bite, drain and add to the sauce.  Stir in the pasta for 2mins, this allows it to absorb the maximum flavour and then serve.

Additional notes

If you want to add an extra depth of flavour, fry some smoked pancetta cube before step one, if you do this don’t add any salt or as much oil to the three vegetable as the pancetta is very salty and fatty.  Also it wouldn’t do any harm if you add a small glass of red wine when you add the tomatoes.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Channel 4 Food

If you follow me on twitter you will have probably seen me babbling on repeatedly about this over the weekend so I shan't hold it against you while you tune out the next few sentences!

So, very recently I was contacted by Channel 4 Food and asked if I would like to be featured on their blog about  gluten-free and allergy friendly food blogs and websites. Obviously I said yes (as if I'd say no!) and the feature went live last Friday, all very exciting non?

I use Channel 4 Food's website a lot so it was beyond exciting to be asked, but to be called witty (By CHANNEL 4 no less) almost made my head rotate at great speed a la Beetlejuice. It was also totally eye popping to be dubbed one of the best gluten-free blogs, as hard as I work and as many hours I put in on my blog, I never believed for a ruddy second that I was on a par with some of the other amazing gluten-free blogs out there so it was all very humbling.
Yet again I'm feeling so very grateful for the opportunities my blog has afforded me, especially after a slow couple of months recently where  the frequency of my posts have been concerned.
I just want to take a moment just to thank Becky and everyone at Dietary Specials for their support over the past year. They really are an awesome bunch and a great company, I'm not sure my blog would have got off the ground if it wasn't for them championing me from the start.
If you'd like to have a nosey at the Channel 4 feature click here there's 9 other brilliant blogs featured which all deserve a follow so go and peruse at your leisure.

On to even more shameless self promotion...

The Cosmo Blog Awards 2011 are coming up and it would be super duper ace if you could vote for me on their site under the category Health, Diet and Fitness.If I win (not very likely but still) I shall keep you all in cupcakes for a year, or failing that I'll dish out some hugs. Bet you can't resist now, eh?

Thanks for all the positive feedback from the Speedy Sides Feature, if you have any speedy side recipes you think would be suitable to be featured email me and let me know I'm always on the look-see for recipes, and don't be shy, I'm like a dopey Labrador and not in the least bit vicious. Have a fab week, it's almost hump day! (as in the middle of the week, not the other...).

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Speedy Sides: Edition 1

This is the first edition of one of my new features Speedy Sides (racked my brains to think of that title didn't I?). The name speaks for itself, each edition will be a super quick and easy dish which will work great as a perfect side,with, or as an addition to a main meal (Depending on whether you eat for England or enjoy mini meals).




         Ingredients
  • 700g New potatoes
  • 100g Radishes
  • 100g Half fat creme fresh (or you can use full fat if your already bikini ready!)
  • Small bunch spring onions
  • 1 Tsp Paprika
  • Zest and large squirt of juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 Clove of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Tarragon
                      Total Prep time: 10 Minutes            
         
Method
  • In a large pan bring your potatoes to boil in salted water. Boil for 10 minutes or until they start to feel soft went you give them a poke with a knife.
  • Drain then off and leave to cool down.
  • Slice up your radishes and spring onions as finely as you can, don't worry if your knife skills aren't Jamie Oliver esq the chopping can be as rough as you like as long as its fine. Pop them in a bowl with your creme fresh.
  • Finely chop your tarragon, add to a small bowl with the lemon zest, garlic (crushed), paprika and a big old squeeze of lemon juice. Give the lot a quick mix.
  • Once the spuds are cool slice them into halves and add to the radish and onion mix, pour over the gremolata and give it all a good stir.
  • Done!Fab for BBQ's, trying to pretend your a bit posh, and with fish.
Adapted from a recipe from Sainsbury's magazine.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Ludicrously Lovely Lemon Syrup Cake


We all know by now that I am a total lemon slut. I love anything with/near/like lemon and as a result I perhaps post more lemon recipes than any other. I had promised that I wouldn't do anymore lemon containing recipes for a while, but after I converted this one from the The Hummingbird Bakery book I knew it was far too yummy not to post it on here (despite it being a doppelganger of one I posted last year) 
The original recipe contains poppy seeds, but since I neither like poppy seeds nor had any in my house at the time the recipe is without them, but if you fancy popping them in I'll give the measurements for them. 
Handily my mother had squirreled away a bagel shaped baking tin which the recipe uses but feel free to use any shaped tin of the same dimensions. I often get asked what products I use so in the brackets are the types of ingredients and the brands that I use (where applicable).

Ingredients
  • 90g Butter (take it out the fridge 10minutes before you start baking to let it soften)
  • 250g Caster sugar
  • 3 Large egg whites (Free Range)
  • 170ml Milk-whole or semi skimmed
  • Grated zest of two small lemons
  • 240g Plain Flour (Doves Farm)
  • 2 Tsp's Gluten-free baking powder  (Dr Oetkar)
  • 1/2 Tsp Xanthan gum (Doves Farm)
  • 1/2 Table salt
  • 20g Poppy seeds if you choose to add them
Lemon Syrup
  • Zest and juice of one large lemon
  • 50g Caster Sugar
I used a lemon glaze but if the thought of all that sugar is setting your teeth on edge rest assured the lemon syrup is plenty to keep the sponge from drying out. Below are the amounts for the glaze.

Lemon Glaze
  • Juice from one large lemon
  • 250g Icing sugar
Extras
  • Ring mould (24cm) or the equivalent
  • Food mixer
  • Whisk (hand or electric)
  • Saucepan
Method
  • Pop the oven on at Gas mark 3 and get down to greasing and flouring your baking tin. It's far too much of a ball ache to line with baking parchment especially if your using a ring tin.
  • In you food mixer throw in the butter, sugar, lemon zest and the poppy seeds if your including them. Give it all a big whizz together until its well mixed.
  • Add the milk a wee bit at a time with the mixer still running, until the whole lot is well mixed. At this point it may slightly split, but don't panic this will be remedied soon.
  • In a large bowl sift in your flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt and give it all a big stir.
  • Next add the flour mix into the butter, add a few heaped tablespoons at a time, making sure its all well mixed and combined. Keep mixing until the mixture goes from split to fluffy. (Told you not to panic!)
  • In another bowl separate your egg whites and if your pathetic like me whisk with an electric whisk, if your made of hardier stuff have a go with a hand whisk. You need the whites to be stiff peaks and shiny.
  • Stiffened and peaked, spoon the whites into the cake mix (I like to tip the cake mix into a separate bowl or the paddle gets in the way and hinders the white folding process) and fold them into the mixture, you don't want to fanny around to much folding them in but don't overdo it either because you don't want the mixture over mixed.
  • Pour or spoon the combined mixture into your tin, give the sides of the tin a bang with the heel of your hand and this should level out the mixture. 
  • Pop it in the oven for around 30-40 minutes.
  • While the sponge is baking away you can get on with other things like making the glaze and syrup. 
  • First the syrup. Put all the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan with 100ml's of water and over a low heat bring to the boil. Your looking to reduce the mixture by half, so once its reached boiling point turn the heat up a bit more. Your aiming for a thin syrup consistency, (too thick and it won't pour well). Set aside until the cake is baked.
  • The sponge will rise but will stay pale maybe going slightly golden on top. Use the poke test and insert a knife or skewer in, if it comes away clean your good to go, with mixture on, it needs a few more minutes. The sponge should be firm and bounce back when you prod it.
  • Leaving the sponge in the tin for a moment, pour the syrup all over the top of the cake. Leave the cake to cool for a few minutes or so and then turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Or at least until you won't risk third degree burns to your throat eating it.
  • To distract yourself from the maddening smell and to resist diving head first into the cake get on with making the glaze.
  • In a small bowl mix the icing sugar and lemon juice until its lump free, smooth and pourable. If you find it's too thick to pour add a little bit of water, if it's too thin add more icing sugar, you know the drill. 
  • Cool and ready for glazing, pop the cake on a stand or plate and drizzle with the glaze. You can throw a few poppy seeds over it for decoration at this point if you fancy.
  • Of a generous nature? Cut into slices and serve to friends and family. Greedy? Run for the hills with your lemon delight and don't look back. I said don't look back!

    Friday, 22 July 2011

    The Mentalist.

    The last few weeks have been a smidgen fraught although fraught makes it sound more like I was having trouble finding a dress in my size in the Topshop sales.
    My poor old moggie Max was put down which was really more upsetting than I ever thought it would be. And after all the ball aches and mess around's and appointment changes RE my barium meal I finally had the ruddy thing done, but it took an age (my tum decided that was the day it would have a 'slow bowel transit'-couldn't have done that at my graduation could ya un-coperative bowel) and by the time I'd left the radiology unit day had turned into night and I felt like David in Flight of the Navigator when he wakes up in the boat in the dark and finds out he's been transported to the future.

    This is probably far to much information than anyone reading this blog wants to hear, but I very recently stopped taking 'the pill' after 8 long years, due to The Other Bowel Problems rendering it quite useless, and being 'with child' is one more ball than I think I can juggle at the moment (although I don't juggle as such,just pass two balls back and forth between two hands).
    For years I thought the pill was the only thing keeping my wild emotions sedate enough that I didn't kill anyone. But it turns out sans pill I am not as violently angry as I believed myself to be, belligerent yes.Pathologically violent,no.Well,maybe sometimes.

    Although it turns out I'm even more tearful than I first realised. And highly strung.And emotional.
    During a shopping trip to Brighton I cried in the middle of a restaurant. Steve was mortified. The waitress turned tail quick march when she spied me blubbering and the couple at the table next to us, at first thinking Steve was proposing in some restaurant with low lighting engagement scenario, quickly realised this was not that case and hide their acute embarrassment behind a bottle of Pinot Grigio. Poor Steve couldn't do the same as he'd only ordered juice and sat looking ready to bash his brains out with the pepper grinder.
    My  lovely buddy Skye (go read her blog,shes the most darling person I've ever met perhaps ever) had told me about The Angel Food Bakery in Brighton so Steve and I took a stroll down The Laines trying to dodge the hoards of exchange students who had chosen that day to descend upon Brighton despite the miserable weather.
    Sadly no dice at the bakery as they'd sold out but do follow the link if you fancy pre ordering your own cupcakes (the non g/f ones looked yum-tastic so I've high hopes for the g/f versions).
    I don't want to cast aspersions on lovely European people, but my god some of the exchange students were rude, I was practically thrown out of the way by one very rude mare in Starbucks who very nearly ended up with my skinny caramel latte in her lap.The only thing stopping me was that I had queued since the year dot for the ruddy thing in a line longer than the equator.

    Anyway folks, I'm looking for some gluten-free recipe for future Twice As Nice posts and also for my Your Recipes tab so if you have some yummy yummy in my (or your) tummy recipes knocking around the place email me at thekatieboobaker@hotmail.co.uk. it doesnt matter if they're non gluten-free as I can convert them easy enough (depending on what it is, I'm not Jamie Oliver).

    Anyway my lovers, I hope your all fine and dandy, and 'hello!' to my new Katie-Boo Babes-I'd like to tell you that my posts aren't always so nutty, but that'd be a bare faced lie. Enjoy!
    I'll be back at the weekend with the first edition of Twice as Nice,which I have long promised and have only just got round to doing. See you all then!

    First try at homemade gluten-free duffnuts (donuts)

    My lovely old moggie Max (right)

    Taking refuge in my cluttered but cosy bed-byes on poorly days.My mother constantly wonders how theres room enough for me
     
    Yummy quinoa salad, recipe here

    My gorgeous new Diana F+ that my gorgeous boyfriend bought me. Smug?Me?Yup thats right!

    Friday, 24 June 2011

    Sexy Strawberry Daiquiri's


    The best thing about these bad boys is that they taste just as awesome with or without the rum. Plus fruit (even if it is mixed with a sugar laced syrup) surely counts as one of your five a day.  I've seen quite a few recipes which use sugar cane syrup, but it's not always easy to get hold of. This recipe uses a super duper easy home made sugar syrup which you can knock up and keep in the fridge until the earth ends because it never goes off. Plus if you want to whip some more cocktails up at a later date you'll have your syrup a'ready and a'waiting. It amazes me sometimes that I'm not a member of Mensa.

    Ingredients
    •  6 Fl Oz Rum, or you can use Vodka. If your wanting your daiquiris on the t-total side skip the spirits
    • 260g Strawberries (or raspberries if you prefer)
    • Juice of 2-3 limes
    • 4-5 fl oz Stock syrup (see recipe below)
    • Few handfuls of crushed ice to serve
    Extras
    • Knife
    • Blender/smoothie maker
    • Glasses
    Method
    • Cut the tops off your strawberries and throw them in the blender with the juice of the limes, the syrup and if your adding rum chuck that in to. Whizz the whole lot together until its smooth. If the cocktail is a tad sharp add some more syrup to sweeten the mixture. Crush some ice in glasses of your choice and pour over the daiquiri mix. Put on your favourite summer frock, and daiquiri in hand moon for hot weather.
    • You can make the syrup mix well in advance, just make sure its cool by the time you use it for your cocktails. Bring 300ml's of water and 300g of caster sugar to the boil over a gentle heat, giving it a stir every now and then to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar has melted, boil the mixture for a few minutes and then allow to cool. Keep in a sterilised jar or bottle. Don't know how to sterilise jars? see my tutorial here.
         

    The Importance of Being Ernest

    Here's dear old Ernie with a bottle of Vino and a very awesome looking kitty.

    The title was my attempt at being a smart arse, since today's quickie recipe is for Daiquiri's and one of the most famous Daiquiri's on the block is the Hemingway Daiquiri. Anyway.

    On Monday I had a trip to the hospital for a Gastroscopy. Happily my pre-gastroscopy stats put my blood pressure within the normal range, not something it tends to be. I think nerves and panic pushed it up out of my boots where it usually resides.
     The Marvelous 'Sister B' (that makes her sound like shes part of some sort of hiphop/rap crew-she's not as far as I'm aware) who had done my gastroscopy/colonoscopy spit roast  in 2008, did my procedure, and she and the nurses assisting were lovely. We had a chat about this blog etc and Nurse S asked to be remembered as beautiful and talented in any memoir of the day I might write (promise kept!). I didn't like to argue since was holding a needle and foraging for a vein in my arm, and was also about to participate in a procedure where a camera was to be forcibly inserted down my throat. I thought it best to stay on her good side.
    All in all the morning wasn't too bad, the staff were lovely (they're beginning to recognise me now, I'm there so much, quelle horreur) and the sedative induced a four hour nap when I got home. Lovely.

    I was meant to have a Barium meal today, but I haven't been all that well so I had to cancel. God knows how they get away with calling it a 'meal' since its hardly spaghetti and meatballs. A friend of my Mum's can't tolerate Barium and apparently they give her marshmallow's instead which work the same as barium and is highlighted on x-rays (I'm not sure if this is medical fact so don't quote me!).
    I did mention the possibility of Flump's Vs Barium to my consultant but he looked at me like I'd just sneezed in his coffee. No harm in trying though right?

    Has anyone seen the new Waitrose gluten-free sandwiches? I gave up being excited about this sort of thing after Marks and Spencer's bought out gluten-free sandwiches with the crappiest availability known to man. So it was with very low expectations that I staggered into Waitrose after my gastroscopy in search of gluten-free gold dust-and man alive, as if they didn't have not one, but both fillings! I bought one of each, resisting the urge to relieve the Worthing branch of Waitrose of their entire stock of gluten-free sandwiches.
    I can confirm that the egg salad one was lovely, I wasn't massively keen on the prawn mayo, but that has more to do with my dislike of prawns in sandwiches than any failing on Waitrose part. Just the novelty of being able to buy a sandwich alone contributes 70% to my overall enjoyment! Waitrose, I'm sorry I ever doubted you.

    As I mentioned at the beginning, today's recipe is for Strawberry Daiquiris, although a Hotpot would probably be more weather appropriate at the moment. Don't worry if your not on/off the wagon, the method caters for a rum riddled recipe and a virgin version as well. I'm too good to you. Enjoy!

    Sunday, 19 June 2011

    Oopsy Daisy Upside Down Apple Cake

    After you've finished yakking after reading my vom worthy 'Daddy Cool' post I thought you might like to indulge in a yummy-o, calorific Apple Upside Down Cake (the point being you turn the cake upside down,not eat it whilst upside down...but you knew that already).
    I wouldn't have ever attempted an upside down anything due to my innate ability to pretty much drop anything I pick up, but my Dad found it while flicking though my new Rachel Allen cook book (a barginlicious £5 from W H Smith) and I had promised him a dessert of his choice for Fathers Day and this was what he chose, and blow me if it didn't actually come out pretty much perfectly! I refuse to revel silently in my success since nothing ever really goes exactly how I want it when I make it!

    Ingredients
    • 3 Eating apples (I used Pink Ladies,cos I like the name and the stickers on them)
    • 250g Light brown sugar (you could use caster sugar but the darker sugar works well with the apple and the cinnamon)
    • 50g Butter
    • 200g Plain Flour (Doves Farm as per usual)
    • 2 Large eggs
    • 3 fl oz Sunflower Oil (veg oil would also do,but not olive oil-too strong in taste)
    • 1 tsp G/F baking powder (I use Dr Oetker)
    • 1/2 Salt
    • A generous pinch of bicarbonate of soda (Dr Oekter again)
    • A nice big heaped tsp pf cinnamon
    • 7 fl oz Buttermilk
    Extras
    • You can make this in a largish oven proof frying pan (around 10inches across) or you can use a Pyrex dish as I did. (I'll give instructions for both methods)
    • Sieve
    Method
    • Whack your oven up to Gas 4.
    • While the oven warms you can get on with melting your butter over a gentle heat in a frying pan. Once its melted add in half the sugar giving it a good old stir and cook the mixture of a low heat for around 2-3 minutes. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the sugar. Burnt sugar on a pan is a pain in the arse to get off.
    • Slice your apples to a decent thickness and add into the pan. If your cooking your cake in your frying pan, set to the side while you get on with making your cake mix. If your using a dish spoon the toffee/apple mix evenly over the bottom of your dish and set aside.
    • Sieve your flour, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon and salt together into a big bowl and give it a quick stir. 
    • In a separate bowl crack in your eggs and whisk with a fork. Add in the buttermilk, the rest of the sugar and the oil, giving it all a proper good stir to combine.
    • Pour the egg/buttermilk mix in with your dry ingredients, give it some welly and stir until you have a smooth cake mix. Don't worry if there's a lump or two here and there. Raymond Blanc isn't coming to tea.
    • Pour the cake mix over the apples (whether in a pan or dish) and pop your pan/dish in the oven for around 30minutes or until the cake has turned golden and is firm to touch.
    • When it's cooked, take the cake out of the oven and leave to cool. As it cools it will start to come away from the sides of the dish/pan.
    • Now for the utterly terrifying bit. Find yourself a big plate and place (face down) over the frying pan/dish and flip the pan/dish and plate over quickly and in one motion if possible. If the cake doesn't quite come away, leave the dish upside over the plate, it will start to suction away after a few seconds.
    • If like my Dad and I you can't wait and are willing to risk third degree burns to your gullet tuck in. It's also yummy a bit cooler with a drop of cream (I don't even know why I said that since I hate cream on puddings). 
    • Take to Twitter and tell the world you have successfully completed an upside down cake.Back of the net.