Wednesday, 27 October 2010

butter icing

Now, it seems to be the extravagant, colourful icing that’s attracting most people to the cupcake trend. Butter icing is the key to achieving those ‘swirly’ topped cupcakes.

300g butter
700g icing sugar*, sieved
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp milk
(A few drops of food dye if you like)

1. In a bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla. Gradually add the milk as required. For the perfect icing ensure the icing is quite thick.
2. Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a wide mouthed nozzle. Pipe over cupcakes in a circular motion starting from the outside and finishing in the centre of the cupcake. The thicker the icing the better.
3. Decorate with silver sprinkles or rice paper flowers, available from most supermarkets or specialist shops.

*ensure the icing sugar is gluten free

Gluten Free – Wheat Free

classic cupcakes

The humble cupcake has become a phenomenon in recent years with specialised cupcake shops popping up all over the world. Maybe it was Sex and the City that got us started but nevertheless we’re all addicted now. However, it’s still often difficult to find a gluten free option when scanning the cabinet. This basic cupcake recipe is sure to get you started on the trend.  Master this and then we can master the icing.

225g unsalted butter
225g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder

1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan. Prepare two 12 hole cupcake trays with paper liners. Simply halve the recipe if you just want 12.  
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and baking powder. Make sure the mixture is very smooth to ensure the perfect cupcake.
3. Spoon into prepared cupcake tin, making sure the batter is evenly distributed.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 16-20 minutes, making sure the cupcakes don’t brown too much on top.
5. Remove from oven and allow cakes to cool for 5 minutes before removing from tray and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

Gluten Free – Wheat Free

lemon polenta cake

This deliciously moist, flavoursome cake is perfect for afternoon tea with the girls or as a lovely end to a family dinner with a dollop of crème frache. Yum.

250g Butter, softened
250g caster sugar
3 eggs
100g polenta
250g ground almonds
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
3 lemons (3 zested, 1 juiced)

1. Heat oven to 160C fan forced. Butter and base line a 23cm springform tin. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs one by one and beat between each addition.
3. Fold in the polenta, almonds and baking powder.
4. Mix in the lemon zest and juice.
5. Pour into the springform tin, it will come nearly to the brim.
6. Bake for about 50 minutes to one hour until the cake is risen and golden (cover the top of the cake loosely with foil after 30 minutes to stop it browning too much).
7. Leave cake to cool in tin.

Gluten Free – Wheat Free 

date, banana and rum loaf

I love this loaf topped with mashed banana, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a yummy weekend breakfast. But, on it’s own, it’s lovely with a hot cup of tea.

Makes one loaf
250g pitted, ready to eat, dates
2 small or 1 large banana
100g pecans, 85g roughly chopped, rest left whole
200g raisins
200g sultanas
100g fine polenta
2tsp mixed spice
2tsp gluten free baking powder
3tbsp dark rum
2 egg whites
Banana chips to decorate

1. Heat oven to 180C/fan. Line a 900g loaf tin with non-stick baking paper, using a little butter or oil to make it stick.
2. Put the dates into a small pan, with 200ml boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the liquid into a jug, then put the dates into a food processor. Add the bananas and 100ml of date liquid and whiz until smooth.  Mix the nuts, dried fruit, polenta, spice and baking powder in a bowl, then add the date puree and rum and stir until combined.
3. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and fold into the cake mix. (To ensure perfect egg whites, make sure your bowl is perfectly clean and there are no traces of shell or yolk in your whites).
4. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, it will be quite full, then top with the remaining pecans and banana chips.
5. Bake for one hour until golden and crusty and a skewer comes out clean.
6. Allow the loaf to cool completely before cutting into slices.

Gluten Free – Wheat Free – Dairy Free

creme brulee

This deliciously creamy dessert is perfect for dinner parties and will be sure to wow your guests. You will need a cooking blowtorch, which you can buy from any kitchen shop, and 8 shallow crème brulee dishes. I prefer to make this dessert in shallow dishes so you can have a shard of caramelized crackle with every bite.

Serves 8
600ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
8 egg yolks
3 tablespoons caster sugar
approx 6 tbsp demerara sugar

1. Put 8 shallow crème brulee dishes in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
2. Put the cream and vanilla pod into a saucepan and bring to boiling point., but do not let it boil. Beat the eggs and caster sugar together in a bowl and, still beating, pour the flavoured cream over it, pod and all.
3. Rinse and dry the pan and pour the custard mix back into the clean pan. Cook over a medium heat (or low if you’re scared) until the custard thickens; about 10 minutes should do it. You want the custard to be voluptuous but not too thick as it will set more in the fridge.
4. When the cream’s thick enough, take out the vanilla pod, retrieve the dishes from the freezer and pour the crème into the severely chilled containers.
5. Leave to cool, then put into fridge until truly cold.
6. 20 minutes before serving remove dishes from fridge and leave until at room temperature. Sprinkle with demerara sugar, spoonful but spoonful, covering the entire top. Holding the torch 10cm from the surface, burn each brulee once over, then again after leaving to rest for 30 seconds.  The tops should be a lovely tortoise-shell colour that gives you that satisfying ‘crack’ when you plunge your spoon in for the first bite! Enjoy.  

Gluten Free – Wheat Free

chocolate orange mousse

This is a fantastic low-fat and delicious dessert that doesn’t taste like you’re calorie counting! The orange pairs beautifully with the dark chocolate but you can use alternative flavours like peppermint extract if you please.

Serves 6
85g Dark Lindt 70% Chocolate
4 large eggs, separated
4 tbsp artificial sweetener
1 tbsp ground orange zest (use a mortar and pestle)
142g fat-free natural fromage frais.

1. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the egg yolks and the sweetener.
2. Place the fromage frais and the orange zest into a food processor and whiz for 20 seconds. Stir into the chocolate mixture.
3. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites, bit by bit, into the chocolate mixture, keeping the air in the mixture.
4. Divide the mixture between the six serving dishes and pop into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Gluten Free – Wheat Free

coconut macaroons

This delicious recipe is great for afternoon tea with the girls. I adapted this recipe from domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson, but thought it needed a bit of velvety chocolate to spruce it up!

Makes 8 large macaroons
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
100g caster sugar
30g ground almonds
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g shredded coconut
1 baking sheet, lined
100g good quality dark chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3.
2. Beat the egg whites until frothy - no more - then add the cream of tartar and carry on beating until soft peaks are formed. Add the sugar a teaspoon at a time and whisk until the peaks can hold their shape and are shiny. Fold in the almonds, salt, vanilla and coconut. The mixture will be sticky but should hold its shape when clumped together.
3. Form into nicely rounded domes and place on the tray. Keep them nice and high as they look better not being too flat.
4. Cook for 20 minutes or until they're just beginning to turn golden in parts.
5. In a bowl over simmering water, place the dark chocolate and melt.
6. Drop in the macaroons, one by one, and cover the bottom of each with chocolate. Cool in the fridge upside down. If there is any remaining chocolate, drizzle some on top of the macaroons. 

chocolate almond balls

I’m often craving something sweet after dinner but don’t want to feel guilty for that piece of chocolate or cake. That’s why I love these choc almond balls. They’re packed full of goodness and you won’t feel like you have to pound the treadmill after a few. These are lovely served with a little natural yogurt or crème fraiche.

Makes about 15 balls
200g unsweetened raisins/ sultanas/ dates
200g ground almonds
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tablespoons good quality dark cocoa powder
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut, plus extra for rolling

1. Place the raisins in a food processor and process until chopped finely. The mixture will probably stick together but that’s ok.
2. Add the ground almonds, banana and cocoa powder and combine.
3. Move the mixture to a bowl and add the coconut. With your hands combine so the coconut is distributed throughout. Add more coconut or cocoa powder to your taste.
4.  Roll the mixture into small balls and coat with coconut. Place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Gluten Free – Wheat Free – Dairy Free

decadent chocolate brownies

This is a serious winner! Deliciously moist and decadent. It should be nice and crusty on the top and velvety smooth and moist in the centre. And it’s great when you come across those lovely chunks of white chocolate. Yum.

375g unsalted butter
375g good quality dark chocolate* (Greens or lindt 70%)
6 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
500g caster sugar
225g Doves Gluten Free plain flour.
1 tsp salt
150g chopped walnuts
150g good quality white chocolate, roughly chopped

1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan and line a 33x23cm brownie tin
2. Place the butter and dark chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water until the mixture is melted and velvety.
3. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together.
4. Beat the sugar mixture into the chocolate. Then add the flour and nuts and combine.
5.  Pour the mixture into the prepared brownie tin. Sprinkle the chopped white chocolate over the mixture, pressing the pieces into the centre.
6. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is nice and crusty but the centre is still gooey and delicious.
7. Allow the brownie to stand for 10 minutes and then cut and serve warm. Amazing.

Gluten Free – Wheat Free

orange and almond cake

This is possibly my all time favourite cake recipe. It is moist, light, delicious and so easy to whip up for a quick treat or after dinner pudding. Serve with natural yoghurt and berries or warm with a yummy scoop of ice cream.

2 large navel oranges
6 organic eggs
250g caster sugar
250g ground almonds
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

1. Put the oranges in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for one hour or until oranges are soft.  Remove from the hot water and leave to cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 170C.
3. Cut the oranges into quarters and remove the pips.
4. Place the oranges into a food processor, skin and all and process until smooth.
5. Add in all the remaining ingredients and process again.
6. Grease and line a 20cm spring form pan.
7. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45-55 minutes.
8. Let the cake cool before removing from tin.

Gluten Free – Wheat Free – Dairy Free


Since moving to Glasgow from Australia last year, I've found it terribly difficult to find good quality and fresh gluten free treats and eats in and around the city. As I love to cook and experiment with ingredients, and also because I know how hard it is to find gluten free food (or even a simple cake with your coffee), i have decided to post all my favourite recipes to inspire gluten free eating in Glasgow. You don't have to be gluten intolerant to enjoy these recipes; test them, experiment with my ideas and let me know what you think, gluten free may be just what your body needs.