Tuesday, 15 November 2011

maple,apple and raisin bread - gluten-free

Warm spicy bread,with chunks of apple and raisins.  Good plain or toasted - sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for an extra special moment.

400g flour ( 40% urid, 40% tapioca, 20% cornmeal)
2 tsp yeast (pre-mix with water if necessary)
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp maple syrup
400ml water
1 tsp vanilla
100g raisins (blitze some of these with flour in the blender to give a variety of sizes, or chop half finely)
100g buckwheat (flour or blitzed in blender)
1 large eating apple, cored and chopped ( c140g)
2 eggs
(5g Solanic potato protein 201 - not available in shops yet, I am trialling this.  It helps give gluten-free breads more uniformity and resist slumping.  Unless you try to make this as a single very tall loaf it won't be necessary to add this.)

Mix all ingredients together into a thickish batter.  Pour into prepared loaf tins (grease and line two one pound tins)  Don't fill more than two thirds full. Sprinkle a little water on top to help with the rise.

Let these rise in a warm moist place until nearly to the top of the tins.

Bake in a 170C oven for 45 minutes.  Turn temperature down for last ten minutes if it looks as if they were getting too brown.

chocolate chip cookies - gluten and dairy free

I made chocolate chip cookies for a writing group based on a recipe by Anthony Worrel Thompson.  I kept them dairy free as well as gluten free.  Simply substituting my flour for ordinary flour and soft vegetable margarine for butter led to a crisp flat cookie with no chewiness, so it needs a bit more flour.  It also meant that the mixture was of soft dropping consistency rather than one that could be rolled out.  Part way through the batch I added ground almonds to make a firmer batter and stirred in some flaked almonds.  This made the cookie thicker, crisp and chewy.   I also added a teaspoon of coffee granules as Ina Garten says adding coffee to chocolate recipes makes them taste chocolatier..thought it worth a try.  Note I have listed both flour options - pick one.

This recipe made 65 mid-sized cookies.

400g flour (40% urid, 40% tapioca, 20% cornmeal)
or   350g flour (ditto), 50g ground almonds, 25g flaked almonds
1 tsp bicarb of soda
225g dairy free baking margarine
175g caster sugar
175g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
35g chocolate chips ( I used Callebaut 53.8% cocoa solids - these say 'may contain milk', so not suitable for those with extreme milk allergy, but ok for lactose intolerant))
1 tsp instant coffee

Mix flours and baking soda - whisk or sieve together
Cream margarine and sugars together, then add eggs and coffee granules.  Mix to a smooth batter.  Stir in chocolate chips and flaked almonds if using.

Place on lined tins and bake at 170C for about ten minutes, until tinged golden.  Only put about five on a tray at a time as they spread a lot.  Cool for a few minutes before attempting to move them so that they harden a little and the chocolate is less runny.  I find that it is easier if I move the lining paper/silicon sheet onto the cooling rack while I dollop out more cookie dough onto the sheet.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Apple cobbler using frozen topping

I froze cobbler topping in July, thinking this might be an easy way of making a fruit pudding with very little effort.  I froze spoonfuls on a baking sheet, then put them in a plastic bag once they were solid.

Today I made a lot of apple sauce for the freezer, and put some in a baking dish with these cobbler blobs on top.  I sprinkled the whole thing with some demerera sugar and cinnamon and put it in the over at 180C for twenty minutes and then lowered the temperature to 160C for a further fifteen minutes.

The cobbler is fluffy in the middle and crisp on top - an excellent partner to the tart apple base.  This is such an easy way to be able to have a pudding, and the cobbler doesn't take up much room in the freezer.  Being frozen in individual spoonfuls means you can make a one person desert it you want.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

New Baxters gf soups

I like the way Baxters put big symbols on their soups to show they are gluten free.  They also have several that taste very good, especially the 'Deli-inspired' bowls that are heatable in the microwave and shaped to eat straight out of the dish.  I find these make a meal for two with some rice or bread.  They are not all gluten-free so do check.  They include flavours like 'sweet potato & channa dahl lentils with chickpeas'.

A new range in the normal easy-open tins has just turned up in my local store.  I bought two to try.  Today's lunch was a Stay Full Spiced butternut squash and edamame bean soup.  It is mildly spiced and very beany.  It counts as three of your veg portions if you eat the whole can.  It is certainly a substantial soup.

I havent yet tried the other one I bought- Beetroot, tomato and buckwheat soup. I fully expect to enjoy it.

If you like Baxters soups and are passing through Selkirk, Scottish Borders, their factory store has a restaurant and knowledgable staff, as well as varieties of soup I haven't seen anywhere else.

Back to the decorating...

How to visit friends

Sometimes it feels like the simplest thing would be to stay home and get all your food delivered and never spend time in the contaminated wheat-ridden world.  Getting people to shower and change when they came to visit would be nice. However, if this doesn't suit you, there are some precautions you can take to making it a little more likely you can enjoy your friends company and not spend all your time gazing at the door of their loo.

Take some food with you.  People get uneasy when they are eating and you don't.  Pack something that you can eat while holding the wrapper so that you reduce the chance of getting gluten on your food from your fingers.  Remember, their sofa, chair back, novels, baby photos...all will be covered with invisible gluten.  Their cutlery will live in a drawer that has crumbs in it.

Don't allow your niceness to persuade you to eat food made specially for you using normal dishes.

Accept a tea or coffee unless you have an important day following, but be aware that unless they use a dishwasher you will probably get some gluten contamination from the cup.

Take some glutenzyme capsules with you.  Before I discovered these I couldn't spend an afternoon with my friends as the gut ache would start after an hour, and the brain fog an hour later, even if I didn't eat or drink anything. Taking one of these every hour allows me to enjoy my afternoon.  I buy these off the Internet.  Make sure you get ones that are lactose free if necessary.  You can order them from your local chemist.  With these I can stay for several days at my sister's house, without them I need to leave after a couple of hours (and she lives a five hour drive away; being able to stay is good).

Chose the right clothes.  Wear elasticated waistbands or clothes with belts where you can accommodate a sudden six inch increase in waist size.  Wear a long loose top so that the resulting gape between the zipper halves will be hidden.  A long loose dress allows a lot of expansion.

Carry hand wipes with you.  You can clean surfaces and hands.  I like Sani-hands, which have a textured surface on one side which is great for scrubbing.  I buy them in bulk off the Internet and always carry some.

Encourage people to eat as a separate activity from handling things.  I meet a group of friends who share an interest in the wilder end of embroidery - we look at each others work with clean hands and that reduces the spread of gluten.  I have handed someone a wipe and got them to clean their hands before looking at a book of mine...people do treat bread and biscuits as if they were clean items when the are not.

If you do get minor contamination, fennel tea can help with the colic, as well as medicines from your pharmacist.  If you have a day when you need to leave the house and feel well enough to go out, an anti-diarrhoea medicine can help give you some time.

Of course, a full scale contamination probably means you wont be able to do anything else for days, but the minuscule invisible contamination issues may be manageable with some of these tips.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Nature's Path gluten and wheat free Maple Sunrise and O's

I was sitting at moping one day as I had a nasty sinus infection, added to which the builders working on the house were using a paint which made my eyes feel as if they were being nibbled with mice.  A package arrived - I had been sent a couple of packs of gluten free cereals to try.  As I hadn't been able to get out shopping for a while I was very pleased.

I eat my cereal with apple sauce - I have several apple trees so that is always available.  Because of this I cannot tell you how they taste with milk.

The O's are firm and crisp and not too sweet.  I had a box with 325g, and it went quite fast as I ate small portions whenever I felt like a snack.  I would certainly buy these again if I saw them in the shop.  Gf cereals are often too sweet or salty, and I thought these had a very good balance.

The Maple Sunrise is very different.  It is made a variety of whole grains, including amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat.  The cereal comes as lots of different shapes as some of the grains/seeds are whole.  I found this cereal too sweet for me, but I tend to like things without half the sugar other people like.    I did find I grabbed a handful to sprinkle on top of fruit or just to eat plain.   It has a pronounced maple flavour, and I think it would be good sprinkled on top of vanilla ice-cream as a crunchy topping if you can eat ice-cream.

I had intended to try both of these as ingredients in recipes.  I think, for example, that the O's would be good for making a rocky road type of cake - usually made with broken biscuits.  The firm crunch would be good surrounded with chocolate.  However, I ate them all before I got around to this.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Flexible gluten free flatbreads/wraps

These wraps are soft enough to fold around fillings and make ahead for a packed lunch. This quantity makes four seven inch wraps.

Tapioca gel – 100ml water and 5g of tapioca flour.  Mix tapioca into cold water and cook until a clear gel, stirring continuously
120g gf flour (40% urid, 40% tapioca, 20% cornmeal)
2 tsp oil

Mix flour into cooled tapioca gel and oil.  Knead until soft and smooth.  Wrap and leave to absorb water for ten minutes (you can use dough immediately but it is easier to handle if left to sit at room temperature).
Roll into circles that fit onto your griddle/pan. Use a floured board.
Heat pan – medium temperature.  Place flatbread on pan and leave to cook for a couple of minutes – it should form little air bubbles.  Turn over and cook second side.  You may want to press the edges down if they look like they are not cooking- just use a fish slice or equivalent.

Wrap in a clean tea towel to keep warm as you cook the rest.