How to make a gift of Florentines

It’s lovely to give or receive a home made gift. These little florentine biscuits wrapped in a cellophane bag and tied with a bow, make a perfect, quick to make present for a friend, neighbour or relative. They are a rich, delicious and perfect with a cup of coffee.

Ingredients

60g butter

50g caster sugar

2 tbls double cream

25 g dried cranberries

40 g flaked almonds

25 g mixed peel

25 g stem ginger – chopped

25g pine nuts

15g plain flour

100g plain chocolate

Making

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease 2 baking trays or I use silicone sheets

Melt the butter and sugar in a small pan. Heat gently and bring  to boil. Off the heat, add the cream

Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the chocolate

Spoon small teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking tray spaced out as they will spread

Cook for approx 8 mins – take out and using a 5 cm cutter make them into a circle

Put back into oven for 2-3 mins till dark golden

Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few mins before gently lifting them onto the cooling tray

Melt the chocolate and coat the back of the florentines – drag a fork across the chocolate to create a wavy pattern

Share with people you like!

 

E6435325-CC08-4767-8CB8-08A68E3077AE

 

 

 

 

Home cooked meals and food shopping

IMG_0857You know by now that I like to be organised. Some people might think I have a mild dose of a compulsive disorder, but I just like things neat and tidy. I know it must be annoying to  live with me but I make up for it by making lovely food 😀

Part  of my organised life means planning meals in advanced and shopping for these. I have a whiteboard in the kitchen and add any items I need to shop for as I run out of them. Next to the list is a rough list of what our main meals are going to be for a week so I also add items to the shopping list that I know I will need for the recipes/meals. Having these side by side lists helps me to make sure I only buy what I need. I said helps! It helps the budget too-hahah we don’t really have a real budget for food. Where I come from ‘food is love’ and so we tend to eat what we fancy or what is cheap or in season that week.

Having said that, I tend to be a bit ‘thrifty’, so my first shop of the week always starts at Lidl . It’s one of their small stores and I prefer that these days. They don’t sell everything I need or use, so I have to go to another supermarket to get the rest. It’s usually Asda. I don’t really like shopping there but the prices are right. I also buy some of the more hard to find ingredients,  in bulk, like linseeds, potato starch and gluten free oats from Wholefoods Online . 

I cook meals from scratch every day. As I don’t eat gluten, we hardly ever go out for meals now. It’s too much of a faff to ask about what’s in the food. I have guessed things would be ok on a couple of occasions and ended up with stomach ache, so now we don’t bother much. We find that we often are disappointed with the meals we get served in restaurants. As we are both good cooks, we think our food tastes better! Its curry Friday again and I’m off to cook. It’s chana masala/chick pea curry (26 Grains) today with dhal (Curry Easy) and rice.

ZJMPqixZSAado7ULubwj8w

My 10 favourite pieces of kitchen equipment

savingPNGAsk anyone who knows me where I spend the most amount of time. They will all tell you its the kitchen. Whether its cooking, making, cleaning or organising, that’s where you’ll find me a lot of the time. When it’s clean and tidy I am happy. When its messy and needs cleaning I am not happy. The other thing they will tell you is that I like to do everything quickly. I can’t help it – that’s just the way I’m made.

In order to help me cook and clean and organise I have some great pieces of equipment. I have pickled out my top 10 favourites. They have mostly made the list if they speed things up!

  1. The steam cleaner – I simply would not be without it. I use it for sterilising toilets and sinks, cleaning floor and wall tiles, cleaning carpets and cleaning the hob. I have a Karcher one which cost about £100 but it’s well worth the investment. I rarely buy chemical kitchen cleaning fluids.
  2. The Magimix – or food processor if you want. This is a recent newbie to my kitchen helpers. over the years I have made do with cheaper substitutions but now I have the best. When I invested in ti I told Mark I would use it everyday and I do. One of my favourite ways of using it is to make nut butters. Just roast almond or cashews nuts for 10 mins and out in the Magimix for about 10 miss with some salt for the best nut butters. Stuff it into medjool dates and devour frequently.bet you can’t eat just one!
  3. The Zester – I use this for grating citrus fruit, garlic, ginger, nutmeg and anything else that needs fine grating. Easy to handle but a bit fiddly to wash but goes in the dishwasher.
  4. The stick blender – although I have the Magimix, it’s a whole lot more washing up than this. So if I am in a bit of a hurry, it’s better to use the stick blender particularly for soups and hummus.
  5. The kitchen knives – I have a set and a few more, Robert Welch knives – they are simply the best, in my opinion.
  6. The warming drawer – I use this for raising and resting dough mixtures, warming serving dishes and plates and defrosting. It’s a great place to put food you want at room temperature but not on the worktop and great for when you are doing a big family roast and want to serve all the veg in separate warmed dishes.
  7. The dishwasher – who in their right mind would not have a dishwasher? I know you need the space to have one but I would forgo a cupboard for it. It keeps the kitchen free of dirty dishes – if you can train your other half to put them in their instead of on the side!
  8. The electric scales – as I mentioned I like to do things quickly and the electronic scales are a great help. Bowls can go on it and ingredients can be added one by one straight into the bowl. You can change from metric to imperial (there are some recipes that I still do in pounds and ounces as I can’t be bothered to convert them) and also measure fluids too, so more time saving!
  9. The electric spice grinder – I prefer to buy whole spices and grind them as I need them – for example cumin, cardamon, coriander and cinnamon. The spice grinder I use is actually a coffee grinder but it works a treat and grinds spices in seconds.
  10. The coffee machine – where would I be without my bean to cup coffee machine? A present from Mark for my 60th birthday – probably so he didn’t have to keep making me coffee in the cafetière – a messy business at any time!

 

 

 

 

 

How to get a gluten free crunch

uGZx4M8NQRG4MUEg8AAjvg

One of the things I miss most about not eating gluten products is the crunch you get from eating a lovely crusty loaf of bread. A lot of baked gluten free recipes taste nice but are missing a crunch. I have found that lining a loaf tin with linseeds or sesame seeds before baking gives you a crunchy crust even if the bread is a bit cakey.

But I also have found a recipe from the 26 Grains  (written by Alex Hely-Hutchinson) book which helps with the fix. The recipe is for Caraway, Oat and Seed Crispbreads. They are full of nutricous  goodies and are very easy to make.

Ingredients

270g gluten free rolled oats

315g mixed seeds – sunflower, linseed, sesame, pumpkin etc

2 tablespoons of caraway seeds

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

1 teaspoon garlic salt or flakes

2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons of coconut oil – melted

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

Method 

Preheat  oven to 180 degrees

Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper or a silicone sheet

Blitz 120g of the rolled oats to a coarse flour.

Add the oat flour to the rest of the dry ingredients

Mix together the wet ingredients in a jug with 375 mls of water

Divide the mixture in 2 and spread over the baking paper or silicone sheets.

Flatten it out as much as you can by putting a piece of baking paper over the top and rolling or pressing it with your hands

Bake for 15-20 mins until the edges start to brown

Remove from the oven and turn it over – it will fall to pieces but thats ok

Cook for another 15 mins until it’s dried out.

Leave to cool and break into pieces and keep in an airtight container.

Gluten Free Christmas Cake

I usually make a Christmas Cake in October, using a recipe from the Delia Smith Complete Illustrated Cookery Course   This year I am trying out a gluten free recipe from the  River Cottage Gluten Free cook book. It has figs and prunes in it which is unusual and uses buckwheat and sorghum flours. The method is basically the same – soak the fruit for 24 hours and then make the cake.

I have made one to try out the recipe and if it’s ok I will make one for Christmas. It has to mature for a couple of weeks and then have a tasting by the chief cake tester. If it passes the test then I’ll make another one. Gluten free cakes can dry out quickly, but hopefully with top ups of brandy brushed on top, each week, it will be ok.

Ginger Cake

This is the best ginger cake you will ever make. I promise. This recipe is from BAKE by Lorraine Pascal. It’s gorgeous and verified by my partner Mark and many of my family and friends.  Yesterday I thought I would see how it turned out using GF flour using a flour mix in the Phil Vickery – Essential Gluten Free  I am using Flour Mix B 

500g (50%) GF brown rice flour

300g  (30%) ine maize meal

200g (20%) cornflour 

As you can see the GF cake (top) didn’t look as pretty as the wheat flour one. Its a lot more crumbly, but tastes just as good. I have now cut it into slices and frozen most of it as GF cakes tend to go stale quicker. Also it means I can’t eat it all in one go. Needless to say the other one will be gobbled up by the other half over the next few days. Ginger cake

How to make delicious gluten free granola

76073906-601C-4CE7-A889-43BFB5A3F184.jpegI like to make my own breakfast granola instead of buying pre-packed, sugar laden rubbish. I know exactly what goes in my granola and can be almost sure that it doesn’t contain any gluten or additives. I vary the recipe depending on what I have in my cupboard. The basic recipe originally comes from Deliciously Ella book but I vary it depending on what I have and what I crave. All the ingredients can be bought in the supermarket or online. I buy maple syrup by the litre from Amazon as it’s much cheaper. I buy nuts mostly from Lidl.

Dry ingredients 

180g pecan nuts

100g almonds 

240g rolled oats – I use gluten free 

175 pumpkin seeds 

175g sunflower seeds 

100g flaxseeds

200g raisins 

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients 

3 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons of coconut oil -melted

Simply mix all the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients (except the raisins) and spread onto a large baking tray covered with baking parchment or a silicone mat and put into the oven 160 degrees  for 30 mins. Turn  it every 10 mins so that it cooks evenly. Don’t make the same mistake that I have done, by adding the raisins before it goes into the oven as you will have lots of chewy black bullets! 

When it’s cooled, add the raisins and transfer it to a glass storage jar. It lasts about a month, but I have usually finished it before then. I make a batch about every 3 weeks. 

I usually have mine with a some sliced banana and almond milk but you could add any fruit and use any milk. You can also use it to make flap jacks, sprinkle it on top of yoghurt or just eat it  straight for the jar when you fancy something sweet. Yum! 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑