Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Gluten free mince-pies

My quest to find recipes that all my friends can eat continues.  The sweet almond pastry gives a real indulgent ‘Marzipan’ richness to the mince pies.

Apologies also that I’m about 5 weeks too late publishing this. You can always save it till this Christmas!

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 100g/4oz Ground Almonds
  • 200g/8oz Rice Flour
  • 50g/2oz Caster sugar
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 100g/4oz Butter
  • 2 tbsp Clear Honey
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • Almond Essence

For the filling

  • 1 jar of mincemeat (approx 454g)
  • 1 apple
  • Brandy or rum

Method

  1. Mix together  the ground almonds, flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Make a well in the middle and put in the butter, honey, egg yolk and almond essence. Mix to a dough. Knead until smooth.
  3. Wrap the pastry in cling film and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before rolling out.

Tip: This pastry can be really crumbly, I found that rubbing a little olive oil on my rolling pin worked much better than dusting with flour.

Mincemeat filling

Finely dice the apple, and mix with the mincemeat and a tablespoon or two of the booze.

Assembling the pies

Preheat oven to 200°C (gas mark 6, 180°C for a fan oven).

Roll the pastry out on a clean work surface to about 3mm thick. Cut circles with a cutter and line each pit in the tart case.

Fill the pastry lined pits about 2/3 full with the filling.

Cut extra circles to sit on top of each pie, and over brush with a little milk.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until richly golden.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They are still fab eaten warm (don’t burn your tongue!)

Note: The combination of ingredients in this pastry means they come out browner in colour than a regular mince-pie. Don’t worry, they are still delicious!

Plum and Almond Crumble

Plums

This is a very happy “make it up as you go along” accidental recipe. Pursuing ideas for recipes for some friends who are on a gluten and wheat-free diet, I wanted to make a really tasty, guilty, no-holds barred sumptuous pudding. Something that just oozed “comfort” and “joy”.

Using some plums from our autumn crop, I was able to make a pudding (with a little help from my good friend Colin) that went down well with everyone.

The great thing about this pudding is that you can make the topping in any number of ways, and so I include a few variations in this recipe too.

Serves 8 (or 6 and one Alan! ;))

~#~

Ingredients

Fruit filling

  • Approx 20 Plums (2 punnets would do)
  • 125ml sherry or white wine
  • 150g Golden Caster Sugar
  • Chilli flakes
  • Pepper

Crumble topping

  • 200g ground almonds
  • 100g rice flour
  • 150g slightly salted butter
  • 150g Golden Caster Sugar

Method

Prepare the plums:

  • Stone and quarter the plums. Put in pan with the sherry and sugar.
  • Grind a small amount of pepper and sprinkle with a few chilli flakes.
  • Place on a low heat to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Make the crumble topping:

  • Carefully rub the butter and rice flour together, adding sugar until you have a nice crumbly texture. (Colin helped me for this part as I was dressed as a Vampiress and had very impractical nails on!).
  • Rub in the ground almonds, trying not to over-work the mix, or you’ll end up with something a little like marzipan.

Assemble the crumble:

  • Plop the plums into the bottom of an oven-proof dish. you want a good inch or two of plums lining the bottom.
  • Carefully sprinkle the crumble topping over the plum mixture, getting it nice and level. Don’ compact or press it down.
  • Sprinkle with a little more sugar for luck!

Bake in the oven at about 180°c for 25 minutes or until the crumble is nicely golden brown and you can see some of the juices bubbling up from the sides. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes before serving.

Variations

Flapjack topping

Melt 125g butter with equivalent golden syrup. Remove from heat and stir in rolled oats until you have a slightly goop-y flapjack mix. Carefully spoon onto the plum mixture before cooking, as before.

Regular crumble

  • 300g flour
  • 150g slightly salted butter
  • 150g Golden Caster Sugar

Rub the butter into the flour until you have a fine crumb-y texture, and then rub in the sugar. Carefully spoon onto the plum mixture before cooking, as before.

Serve with

Custard! Clotted cream! Double cream! Boozy Christmas creams. Anything rich, and decadant! 🙂

Orange and Almond Cake

Oranges are not the only fruit. Unless you own this bowl

I first made this cake back in March, seeking recipes for a friend who is avoiding wheat/gluten. At first I thought it was going to be impossible to make tasty cake she could eat, but this recipe saved the day.

It is loosely based on Torta de Almendra, a Spanish Orange and Almond Cake.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 medium sized organic oranges
    – use organic if you can as we will be cooking and eating the peel!
  • 300g (11oz) ground Almonds
  • 200g (7oz) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Method

  1. Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil.
  2. Wash the oranges before placing into the boiling water, ensuring the water covers them.
  3. Simmer for 1-1.5 hours or until the oranges look very soft.
  4. Drain the oranges, then cut into quarters (they will be hot, so careful!) and remove any pips.
  5. Whizz them to a pulp with a food processor or blender. Set to one side.
  6. Sift together the ground almonds, sugar and baking powder and mix.
  7. Beat the eggs into the mixture, getting air into the batter.
  8. Tricky(ish) bit: stir in the pulped oranges. Get the batter thoroughly mixed, but try not to be too heavy with it. If you mix too much, you’ll lose the air. If you don’t mix enough you’ll end up with a very scrambled-egg cake.
  9. Pour the batter into a greased, lined, round loose-bottom cake tin. I think 20-25cm diameter.
  10. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes in a hot oven ( 190C/375F Gas 5 ) it is ready, when golden brown and touched, it will feel nice and spongy.
  11. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool before removing from the cake tin.

Will keep for up to a week in an airtight box.

Suggestions

  • This cake goes really well with poached berries.
  • Try with mascarpone or some of those nice boozy-Christmas creams that come out this time of year!

the salad days

I love this time of year, when we can really say goodbye to winter, and start enjoying the warm sun on our faces. Seeing the summer girls out in their vest tops and summer skirts is not bad either!

At this time of year, it can still be hard knowing what to cook, especially as when the evening draws in, it can get really chilly.

Here’s a couple of recipes for warm salads that make an ideal accompaniment to Roast Chicken, served with some home-made rolls or Ciabatta.

They are really easy, which is perfect for a lazy chef like me!

Courgettes with Basil and Lemon

  • 4 courgettes
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • Fresh basil – a good large handful
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Slice the courgettes in the round, the thickness of pound coins. Season with salt and pepper. Spritz with a little olive oil and either grill or fry until They start turning pale golden in colour.

Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice with a good glug of olive oil and roughly torn basil leaves in a serving bowl. 

As the courgettes are done, drop them into the bowl, making sure they get doused and tossed in the dressing.

Adjust seasoning and serve.

Serves 4-6

Roasted vegetable and chickpea salad

  • 1 aubergine, cubed
  • 1 butternut squash, de-seeded and cubed
  • 8 med-large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1x400g tin chickpeas, drained
  • Fresh basil – a good large handful
  • Moroccan spice mix (most supermarkets do a ‘rub’ or similar)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200°C (gas mark 6).

Put the aubergine, squash and tomatoes in a roasting tin and drizzle with oil. Roast for about 45 minutes.

In a serving bowl, mix together the chickpeas, whole basil leaves, a good glug of oil and 2 teaspoons of Moroccan spices.

When the veggies are golden and the tomatoes well and truly melted, stir into the chickpea mix.

Adjust seasoning, and serve.

Serves 4-6

‘Never fail’ Roast Chicken

ChickenOkay, 2 posts I’ve mentioned my Roast Chicken, so maybe I should write a little about what’s so great about it.

Chicken is the cheap meat in a nugget, filler in a creamy pasta dish, drumsticks in a BBQ ‘value’ pack. And don’t get me started on Popcorn chicken…

…but chicken is so much more than that, and it’s so undervalued.

Chicken is a very social meat, and so easy to share. You have people who don’t like red meat at all, so chicken is great for them. Then you have people who find Lamb too greasy, Pork too fatty or fibrous, Beef only edible the way they cook it (blue, rare, medium, sunny side-up – whatever). But chicken, everyone likes chicken one way – cooked. No-one asks for chicken rare, or with the fat cut off, no-one wants it ‘well-done’. Chicken. Cooked. Done.

And a whole Roast Chicken can be one of the most beautiful dishes, when given a little care, and being relaxed about it. It’s a real carnivore’s meat, all that pulling at flesh with fingers, and gnawing meat off the bone, popping the legs to suck the marrow if you’re so inclined …gorgeous. It’s also a great option for entertaining as a big chicken can easily feed 6 people (with leftovers for stocks and soups) – with enough choice of breast, thigh, leg and  ‘dark meat’ to cater for all tastes.

Except vegetarians, but they can sit over there. No, further. Further. There.

So, ‘never fails’ Roast Chicken (for which I am indebted to Nigel Slater).

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