Saturday, 4 March 2017

Gluten-free cheesecake or avocado lime pie

Base (can double quantities for larger tin - this gives a 1cm thick base in a 20cm tin)

100g dates
60g whole almonds
25g desiccated coconut
25g chopped dark chocolate, optional

Chop all together in food processor. Add 50g coconut oil or butter, melted and cooled

Cheesecake topping

1/2 284ml pot Guernsey thick cream (or whipped double cream)
225g pack cream cheese
1/5 tin condensed milk or to taste
juice and zest of one large lime

Avocado topping:

Whizz 2 ripe avocadoes with juice and zest from 2 limes, a pinch of salt and 75g honey until smooth. Pour over crust, chill for 3 - 4 hours or overnight.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Gluten free chocolate cakes and desserts

Chocolate cake - with red kidney beans!!

50g cocoa powder
400g can red kidney beans, drained and well rinsed
125g brown sugar
75ml coconut oil (or another odourless oil like sunflower)
100g (rice) flour (I used normal plain white and it turned out top notch)
3 large eggs (VEGAN – crush 1tbsp of chia seeds in your pestle and mortar, or use chia powder, and add enough water to just cover the powder. Set aside for minimum 10 minutes for it so soak up)
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4.
Lightly oil a 20cm cake tin (preferably springform, otherwise use greaseproof paper) and line the base with greaseproof paper/baking parchment.
Blend the oil, beans, egg or egg substitute and vanilla essence in a blender.
Sieve together the cocoa, baking powder and sugar.
Pour the liquid mix into the dry mix and whisk until combined.
Pour the mixture into your cake tin evenly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes – check it, and whisk it quickly out of the oven as soon as your skewer comes out only just clean. This is best slightly underdone, not overdone!

These recipes are from Gluten Free Goddess.

First, gluten free chocolate cake with cream, chocolate and eggs - no nuts. Make the day before if possible:

1 cup whipping cream
2 1/2 cups high quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips*
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons bourbon vanilla extract* or see notes
7 organic free-range eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Organic cacao powder with maca, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line the inside bottom of a 9-inch Springform cake pan with a circle of parchment paper. Wrap a large piece of foil around the outside of the pan, covering the bottom and sides, to catch any leaking drips. Set aside. 

In a medium sauce pan, gently heat the cream over low heat. When the cream is fairly hot, melt the chocolate chips by adding them slowly to the pan as you whisk. Add the butter, in pieces. Whisk until the chocolate and butter are melted. Add the vanilla extract. As soon as the mixture is melted, smooth, and glossy remove it from the heat.

Using a wire whisk attachment, beat the eggs, light brown sugar and sea salt until the eggs are foamy and doubled in volume, roughly 3-4 minutes. (This is where a KitchenAid stand mixer comes in handy.)

Slowly add the cooling chocolate mixture to the eggs, and beat gently until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for one hour, until the cake is set and cracked. It will still appear a bit loose in the center, underneath. This is fine.

Place the cake pan on a wire rack to cool. When the cake is close to room temperature, lightly cover and chill the cake overnight.

Before serving, gently loosen the cake from the sides of the pan using a thin flexible spatula. Release the Springform clasp and remove the ring. Place the cake on a cake plate.

Dust the cake with a sifting of cacao powder with maca. 

Cook time: 1 hour

Yield: 18 thin slices- this cake is super rich!

Then Nirvana slices - coconut, biscuit crumbs, almonds, condensed milk

1/2 cup butter or vegan buttery stick, such as Earth Balance
1 1/2 cups gluten-free chocolate cookies, processed into crumbs
1 cup (heaping) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup chopped roasted almonds (I used salted because I like a sweet and salt combo)
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place the butter in a 9x13-inch baking pan and set it in the oven until the butter is melted. Tilt the pan to coat the bottom evenly.

Sprinkle the cookie crumbs in the buttered pan and toss them to coat; press them into a layer. Pour the condensed milk in the pan. Add a layer of chocolate chips, then a layer of coconut, then almonds. Using the back of a spatula, press the mixture firmly into the pan.

I usually sprinkle a few extra chips on the top, and gently press them in. Why not?

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes, until set.

Cool completely on a wire rack. Chill before cutting.

Makes 15 to 20 bars.

I usually mix it up and cut some larger, some smaller. And I always cut up a couple of "tiny bites" to wrap and freeze for a small, quick treat - when I crave something sweet, but don't need much.

And Brownies:

5 ounces high quality 60-70% cocoa dark chocolate
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 organic free-range eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla*


1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired
Dark chocolate chips for the top, if desired


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat, gently stirring. (Or melt in a microwave safe measuring cup and stir together to combine.) 

In a mixing bowl whisk together the brown sugar, almond meal, sorghum flour, fine sea salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center and add the beaten eggs, vanilla extract and melted dark chocolate mixture. Beat on low-medium for two minutes, until the batter begins to come together. At first it will seem thin, like cake batter, but keep beating until it thickens and becomes smooth and glossy.

If you are adding nuts, stir in the nuts by hand and spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Even out the batter with a silicone spatula.

Stud the top with some dark chocolate chips and press in slightly.

Bake in the center of a preheated 350ºF oven for 32 to 35 minutes, or until the brownies are set. The top will crack, like a flourless chocolate cake.

Cool on a wire rack; and remove the cooled brownies from the pan by gripping the foil edges and lifting the brownies out as a whole.

Chill for an hour before cutting. (Though warm and gooey is really divine, if you don't mind them falling apart.)

Yield: 16 servings

*For chocolate-mint brownies use 1 teaspoon peppermint extract and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Gingerbread house

Several years ago - 12, 13 perhaps - Cat and I made a gingerbread house. Cemented together with royal icing, it sat proudly on top of the cupboard for several years: five in all, I think. I don't think it was the first house we made - I'm fairly sure we ate our first attempt, which we made when we were still in Kenya - but it was the last we made together.
Then Cat asked me for the recipe today. Now she is making it for her little Kiwi nephews (and probably her brothers-in-law as well...)

The gingerbread recipe itself is American, from my dear friend Connie:


Beat together 1 cup/6oz of melted shortening/butter with 1 cup/8oz sugar (brown/white) and 8 tablespoons / 1 cup of honey or golden syrup, 1/2 cup of water and 1 large egg. 

Beat well and then beat in 3 cups/18oz of plain flour, 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons (each) clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 

Slowly add a further 3 cups of flour. Pat the dough together into a soft wobbly dough and either put in fridge if you want to for a short time, or roll it straight away. It will be very soft, so a light hand is needed and try not to add too much extra flour for rolling. I have had a good deal of success lately by rolling dough/pastry out with a sheet of greaseproof paper between the dough and the rolling pin.

 Cut out the parts of the house:  two gable ends, 2 long rectangles for walls and 2 wider rectangles for the roof.  The roof should not be too sharp an angle or it will be hard to glue it on to the walls, so make the rectangles big enough. You could cut out windows and a door separately, or draw them on with icing/other decorations. Little Christmas trees for the garden, snowmen and the right size gingerbread men (I have a tiny cutter) for the door can also look good.  Use left over dough to cut out cookies.

 Cookies bake at 10-12mins at 350F / 180C, the larger rectangles may take longer. Trim with a sharp knife straight after baking, probably - otherwise with a very sharp paring knife when cool. Assemble the house, 'gluing' the walls and gable ends first with royal icing: wait until these set before adding the roof, or the whole house might collapse!  I seem to remember that toothpicks are extremely useful, too... 

Royal icing: my mother's recipe, which I have written out in her own handwriting. The recipe is now falling apart as I have used it so much.

1 lb icing sugar
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
2 egg whites

Put half the sifted icing sugar into a bowl and add the egg whites. Beat at speed thoroughly until it is very white and smooth, then, add the remaining sugar and the lemon juice. Beat the icing very well until it looks 'dull' and soft peaks form, otherwise it won't set hard enough.

If you're lucky - and skilled - the end result may look like this...
Fruit tree growing on the end wall, Christmas trees delivered on the back of a truck...

Finishing touches

Bird's eye view - where's the seagull?

A front door which actually opens... and a pebbled path round the house

Check out the bushes.

And even a slide!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas dinner

Turkey cooking.

Quinoa gluten free stuffing. Quinoa, softened onion and garlic, apricot, chopped almonds/pine nuts, thyme, rosemary, lemon and orange zest.

Annabel Langbein's cranberry mincemeat. Tart and fruity.

Cranberry and clementine sauce:
100g cranberries
1 - 2 large spoons sugar, to taste: cranberries are tart.
Juice and thinly pared and chopped or grated rind of a clementine
A pinch each of cinnamon, mixed spice and cloves ( optional )
Simmer gently until sauce-like.

And Christmas treats and ideas at Beauty and Bedlam

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Gluten-free carrot cake. With parsnips. Hmm...

Came across a recipe for gluten-free carrot, parsnip and orange cake. Not sure. Still, the website looks useful, from the people who produce Genius gluten-free bread.

100g butter or dairy-free baking margarine, softened

55g rice flour

55g cornflour

110g light brown muscovado sugar

2 tsp gluten-free baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

½ tsp mixed spice

3 medium eggs, at room temperature

Zest of 1 orange

100g carrot, grated

100g parsnip, grated

50g raisins

40g pecans, roughly chopped 

Whisk all together, bake 30 - 35 minutes in a 20cm springform pan at 180 degrees C

For the orange cream icing:
50g butter, softened - beat first, add remaining ingredients, beat together.

250g cream cheese

275g icing sugar, sifted 

Zest of 1 orange 

1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Sprinkle on 20g pecans, roughly chopped

Monday, 28 November 2016

Fudge. And sweets.

Chocolate bark. And a link to other treats.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Anzac biscuits

Annabel Langbein's recipe...

I tried the 'flattening' so they would be chewy on the inside, and baked for the required 20 minutes, but think that 15 minutes next time would probably be better.

  • 1 cup wholegrain rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup thread coconut
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar
  • ¼ cup golden syrup
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • ½ tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 160°C fanbake and line 2 oven trays with baking paper for easy clean-up.
Combine rolled oats, flour, coconut and sugar in a large bowl. Heat together golden syrup, butter and boiling water until butter melts. Stir in soda, then mix into dry ingredients until well combined.
Roll mixture into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball and place on trays, allowing a little room for spreading. For biscuits that are crunchy on the outside but a little chewy inside, lightly flatten with a fork or damp fingers and bake until lightly golden (about 20 minutes). For chunky, super-hard biscuits, bake for about 30 minutes. For very crunchy thin biscuits, press dough very flat and bake for about 15 minutes. 
Tip: If you don't have golden syrup you can use honey or maple syrup instead.