Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Last in the triology - Hot cross bun pudding - Gluten, Wheat and dairy free!

This is the last dish I made for my mini allergy friendly dinner party for our dessert, served with soya cream - a new product for me - texture wise very good but needed a little sweetening I thought!

Sainsburys had provided me with some recipe cards and special Freefrom ingredients, I decided to mix the two and used their B&B pudding recipe with some tweakings:

Makes 2 generous servings

2 Freefrom Hot cross buns
2 eggs
80ml soya cream
160ml unsweetened soya milk
1 tbsp golden syrup

Slice the buns thinly and line individual dishes. Whisk together the remaining ingredients, gently pour over the dishes and leave to soak for 30 mins to an hour.

Bake @ 150o fan / 170o for 30 minutes or until puffed up, golden and cooked through. Serve with the remaining cream

Friday, 23 April 2010

Sinhalese Prawn Pasta - Gluten, Wheat and Dairy free!

Following on from the night I spent with Sainsburys, and my recent posting of my delicious Aubergine Bhajis - this is the main dish I made for my mini Freefrom dinner party, the recipe was adapted from Ainsley Harriots Low fat Meals in Minutes. Its quick and easy to make, the Freefrom pasta does break up a little but is not detrimental to the taste.

The original recipe says 450g spaghetti, which seems a little excessive for 2 people…..


200g Sainsburys Freefrom pasta
225 peeled prawns (cooked)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp curry paste. I struggled to find a labelled GF one and chose Pataks Rogan Josh in the end which fitted the bill well and didn’t list contain any dairy or wheat..
½ a white onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, plus extra for garnish
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I omitted as not keen unless its on garlic bread!)
1 clove garlic
Zest and juice of lemon
1 tbsp

Boil the pasta as per packet instructions, drain, reserving about 12 tbsp of the cooking water.

In a large pan or wok heat the oil, add the garlic and onion and fry, without colouring, stir in the curry paste and cook for 20 seconds, add the reserved liquor, prawns, herbs, toss together to heat through, add the lemon zest and juice, season lightly, add the pasta, mix well and garnish with fresh coriander

Monday, 19 April 2010

Gorgeously Spiced Aubergine Bhaji's with Chilli and mint dip - all Gluten, Wheat and Dairy free!

To follow up from the evening I spent with Sainsburys, Sainsbury’s kindly provided us with some of their Freefrom products and I held a mini dinner party with a friend who was recently diagnosed with a wheat, dairy and gluten intolerance (I was not aware of the yeast intolerance too at this point but just about scraped it!)

For starters, I made the most amazing Aubergine Bhaji's (fritters?). I do admittedly indeed love aubergines, and these were without blowing my own trumpet pretty awesome!! Crispy, flavoursome, omigod so good! Gluten, Wheat and Dairy free too! Definitely my new favourite thing to eat and faultless in taste. First time I've made anything like this and were so easy to make. I used the same batter mix a few days later just on thinly sliced onions, soaked in milk and lemon, then coated in the batter and it worked deliciously on them too!

These are best eaten freshly cooked but I won’t deny the scraps were eaten cold, much later on with glee still in my heart! For our main course I adapted an Ainsley Harriott recipe for Sinhalese Prawns (think Nepalese style of cooking?) but using freefrom spaghetti. If I was making this again (which I probably will!), I would go easy on the lemon juice as it was a little overpowering, maybe just try half and add more to taste. The Freefrom pasta did break up a little but not in a bad way. It did have a slight powdery taste but overall the dish was still enjoyable and a good substitute for ordinary spaghetti.

Finally for pudding, I made individual hot cross bread and butter pudding which were quite tasty considering they were gluten, wheat and dairy free! Recipes for both will follow in my next posts.

Thank you to ever patient friend Matt who opened the windows when the oil started foaming over the saucepan – note to use a large pan – switching pans mid frying is very unadvisable! Oh and of course for guinea pigging it all and saying nice things about the food!

Aubergine Bhajis

Makes about 10

Deep fat fryer not essential – I filled a large, deep saucepan with 1 inch vegetable oil

Batter recipe adapted from Indian: Simple ways to success by Das Sreedharan

1 medium aubergine, about 250g
1 small onion, finely sliced
100g gram flour (chick pea flour)
50g Doves Farm Gluten & Wheat free white flour blend
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, shredded
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, shredded
Pinch turmeric
Pinch salt
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp chilli powder - add more to taste if desired
200ml sparkling water, cold
4 tbsp table salt

Firstly, dice the aubergine into 1cm cubes, place in a large sieve, sprinkle over the table salt and leave for at least 15 minutes, this will help draw out some of the juices. Rinse well in water and dry in a clean cloth.

In a bowl, mix the flours and seasonings, slowly add the water, until you have a nice smooth batter. Add the onion and drained aubergine, coat well.

Heat the oil, drop a little batter in to test – it should colour nicely within a minute and float to the top, needs to be hot!

Carefully spoon in the batter, in batches, leaving plenty of space and fry each fritter for a couple of minutes or until nicely browned, turning over if necessary and then place on lots of kitchen paper to drain.

Serve with the dip. Oh and try to resist eating them all.

Chilli mint dip

Makes 1 serving – multiply as needed

1 red chilli
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves

Heat everything together in a small pan and boil for about 10 minutes or until lightly thickened, allow to cool and serve with the fritters.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Cooking made allergy friendly with Sainsburys Freefrom

This post has been about two months in the making and I am finally, very pleased to post about an evening I spent with the Sainsburys Try Team in London, who have been working very hard at re-developing the Freefrom range, which caters for those who have food intolerances and allergies. Whilst being lucky myself in that I can eat most things, at the same time I’ve noticed that an increasing number of people have been diagnosed with food allergies and intolerance’s, including close friends who now struggle to create and enjoy foods they used to love but are now off-limit's.

The event was organised by the lovely ladies at 1000 Heads, who took pictures of the evening, (I was a super idiot and had left mine on charge at home, so all the pictures are courtesy of 1000 Heads and Sainsburys, thanks!) please do check out the rest of their photostream where you can see me mostly looking  like an idiot in a hairnet! No cruel comments please ;-)

If you have food allergies or intolerences and frequently find youself trawling up and down aisles for ages, reading packets in detail for allergy advice, give the Sainsbury’s team a call and they will pop you in the post a full list of foods that are available to suit your dietary needs.

Our first task of the evening was to enjoy a glass of bubbly (gorgeous stuff by the way – will be definitely buying this at home!) whilst chatting and snacking on some little delicacies, it’s a tough job but someones gotta do it ;-) We tucked into little Freefrom bread rolls with garlic mushrooms, tasty olives with salami, smoked salmon on sundried tomato ciabatta (I would have never guessed these were both dairy and wheat free!) and houmous with crudites.

Following on we moved on to the kitchens, I was put onto the dessert section with the ever patient Mary from the Sainsbury’s Try Team and given the task of making Freefrom cupcakes that were dairy, egg and wheat free – quite a challenge for the Try Team to develop the recipe! The frosting for the cupcakes resulted in lots of people gathering around me wanting to taste it – quite un-nerving at the time! The secret ingredient was…wait for it…Sainsburys Basics instant potato flakes! Topped with luxury dried fruit and nuts and a little icing sugar sifted over, these little babies looked the part and got plenty of oohs and aahs!

Alongside my cupcakes, the rest of the group made some lovely freefrom dishes including Prawn pad Thai, Asian fishcakes, Sweet potato wedges with turmeric, lime and coconut (these were one of my favourite dishes!) treacle tart and gorgeous fruity icecreams made with cashew nut butter to be dairy free, which we all sat down at a huge table to eat, along with lots of lovely wines, I drank the white TTD Albarino which is my new favourite white wine, was medium dry, bursting with fruit flavours with a crispy finish, a really delicious wine!

At the end of the lovely evening, we got to go home with a Freefrom goody bag, one of my personal favourites were the caramel shortcakes – I normally find these too sweet but these were delicious, sweet but not sickly sweet and lighter to eat with a mmm slightly soft, crumbly texture. One of my girlfriends was also very impressed by these!

P.s. I still have your visitor pass and my name badge, does this mean I can come back? ;-) The glamorous hairnet though is all mine! ;-)

Keep your eyes peeled for my next posts, as following on from the evening I created my own 'freefrom recipes to share with you all!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Jamie Does...

I am a Jamie Oliver fan, already owning most of his books and was planning to pick up his latest - however fate intervened and I was very lucky to get sent a copy Jamie’s new book ‘Jamie does…’ containing recipes, pictures and notes from his travels around Spain, Italy, Swede, Morocco, Greece and France, which hits the shelves on 15th April. You can pre-order here from Amazon
The main thing I really like about this book is how each country has a page dedicated to its culinary highlights, is a good showcase of the core ingredients that gives food for thought.

A section that really caught my eye was Spain, as during Jamie’s trip I noted he visited the bull fighting ring in Ronda, which I had also visited a couple of years ago on holiday, following a terrifying drive up the mountains involving me hiding under my hands and refusing to look out of the window – yes the views may be beautiful but I swear I was screeching most of the journey up, saying my prayers!! Luckily my boyfriend is a good driver and we are still here to tell the tale!

On to better things, I really like his selection of Tapas, a good choice of simple, tasty dishes from Chorizo with garlic, Blackened pardon peppers and to drool over the page Ham and cheese Croquetas! I ate similar croquetas at a Spanish restaurant a few years back in London and whilst they were good, Jamie’s sound divine! This will definitely be one of the first recipes I make!

All the other countries too have a great selection of must make recipes, I’ve spotted a lush sounding Crispy cured Meat and Cherry salad in Italy, stunning pink Beetroot Gravadlax in Sweden and a mouthwatering Sweet & lovely Honey and Pistachio cake from Greece. Mmm!

And yes, the bookshelf is about to collapse from overload but it will just have to live on top of it…and the boyfriend can’t complain as-I-didn’t-actually-technically-buy-it……;-)

Big thanks to Jamie's PR team for sending me this :)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Win some dark chocolate goodies from Dorset Cereals!

Welcome to the darker side of breakfast cereals..the dark chocolate side that is!

The last couple of weeks I’ve been tucking in with glee at breakfast time to decadent and deliciously dark Chocolate Granola with coconut, from Dorset Cereals.

I really love the chocolate to coconut to crunch ratio, is perfectly balanced, very tasty and I don’t think it will hang around long now it is opened….who needs popcorn!

They also sent me the Chocolate Granola & Macadamia Nuts version which is also lovely but its coconut all the way for me!! 
As gorgeous as they both were straight from the box, I mixed the coconut version with some home made crumble topping, topped a fruity base consisting of tinned mandarins, sliced mango and eating apple (was really good in a different sort of way!) and then served with some home made chocolate custard. The boyfriend declared it the best crumble I’ve made, high praise in deed! Since then I also made a rhubarb crumble with a little of the chocolate coconut one in the topping and it was also very well received! Unfortunately neither were photographic beauties but it tasted delicious!

 Both of the Dark chocolate granolas are made with Fairtrade 70% cocoa chocolate (= extra yum for dark chocolate lovers!) I am a definitely a dark chocolate girl so this really floats my boat, so to speak! All my guests have been also having a dip and loving both of them!

Additionally both are also Vegetarian Society approved and the cardboard packaging is unbleached and made from 100% recycled fibre, good for the environment as well as our bellies!

If dark chocolate tempts you too, enter the competition over at Dorset Cereals website and you could win yourself a Jute bag with 3 boxes of each of the chocolate granolas and a Dorset Cereals bowl inside!!

Whilst you are there, don’t forget to vote for me in their Little blog awards!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Happy Easter Baking

As regulars to my blog will know, I am rather fond of sprinkles and Silverspoon recently sent me a set of gorgeous sprinkles, pink icing and other cake decorations, just in time for Easter! Silverspoon have a fantastic range of decorations to make your cakes and desserts look extra special!

You can also find on their website lots of lovely recipes, these gorgeous looking Coconut clusters have caught my eye and am rather intrigued by this lush looking Sticky chocolate yoghurt cake

As its Easter, I just had to make these little fairy cakes to take into work using the lovely Silverspoon decorations and a little glace icing:

I used the Fairy cakes recipe from Silverspoon’s website and also added a bag of their chocolate chips, which made lovely light little buns that rapidly vanished!

Continuing with the Easter baking theme, I also made this gorgeous Mocha cake, my entry for the great Easter Cake Bake held every year over at the lovely Julia's blog A Slice of Cherry Pie

Mocha cake

Taken from Baking, published by Star fire books and aka my baking bible! The original recipe is for Coffee and Pecan cake but had to adapt slightly as I made it for an Easter family lunch and two of the guests have nut allergies.

175g self-raising flour, sifted
125g butter or margarine
175g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp coffee, instant or granules
2 large eggs
2 tbsp cocoa powder


1tsp coffee, instant or granules
1 tsp cocoa powder
75g unsalted butter, softened
175g icing sugar

Oven 190o/ fan 170o, gas 5 – pre-heat 10 minutes

You will need 2x 7” sandwich tins, lined (I always use baking parchment liners!)

Dissolve the coffee in 2 tbsp hot water and allow to cool.

Beat the butter and sugar together (I *heart* my Kenwood Chef!) until light and creamy, mix the eggs with the cooled coffee mixture and beat into the butter sugar mix, adding a little flour every few beats, until all mixed in, pour into the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes away clean, allow to cool thoroughly before icing.

To ice, beat the butter and sugar. Dissolve the coffee and cocoa with a little boiling water, add to the mix and beat until smooth, use half for the filling and remaining half for the topping. Store in an airtight container.

Decoration as desired!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Carrot, Parsnip and Sultana tea-loaf

Alongside my last loaf of regular Bara Brith (will post soon but just had to squeeze this in!), I went a bit crazy (blame afternoon wine consumption!) and experimented with the ingredients…… my new breakfast friend - Carrot, parsnip and sultana tea-loaf!

Lightly toasted and buttered its rather delicious but even just buttered is still very tasty! I have been eagerly wanting to post this all week but have mysteriously lost my uploader thingymagig and had to wait for a new one!

Doesn't this just say eat me?

I love carrot cake and I also love bara brith…this is a fusion of the two, in a very good way! The carrot adds a lovely colour to the loaf and along with the parsnip adds both texture and sweetness (without actually tasting of parsnips).

In comparison to the dry-ish texture of Bara Brith, this loaf is so much more moister and fruity, I have demolished it within a few days and eagerly waiting to make another! Breakfast, snack, midnight feast - this fits the bill! It also smells great too!

You will need a 2lb loaf tin. Oven 180/ fan 160 (max!)

300g self raising flour
100g golden caster
140g grated carrot and parsnip (roughly 2)
1 tsp mixed spice
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
25g candied peel, chopped
100g sultanas
20g chopped pecan nuts
1 large egg
100ml milk
2 tbsp golden syrup or treacle
Pinch salt

Sift the flour, sugar and salt together, stir in the fruit, pecans, candied peel, zest and juice of the lemon

Make a well and crack in the egg. Gently warm the milk and add the golden syrup, mix well and pour onto the egg and dried ingredients, mix to a thick dough and spoon into a lined or greased loaf tin. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes away clean.

The Bara Brith is hiding in the background!
01 09 10