Friday, 18 October 2013

Syrupy lemon polenta cake

Rachel White’s easy lemon cake is gluten-free. Serve with crème fraîche to make it really special

  • 16
  • 15
  • 50
  • freeze
  • 300g butter, softened
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 150g polenta
  • 2 lemons, finely grated zest only
  • 5 large eggs

For the lemon syrup

  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  1. Heat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/Gas 4. Grease and line a 25cm round, loose-bottomed cake tin. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the ground almonds, polenta and lemon zest and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until smooth.
  2. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. After a few minutes, turn the cake out, upside down, on to a wire rack and prick the base all over with a fork.
  3. For the syrup, bring the lemon juice and icing sugar to the boil, remove from the heat and spoon over the cake. Once it has soaked in, turn the cake the right way up or leave it as it is. Serve with crème fraîche if you like.
Per serving (without crème fraîche): calories 401 (20%), sugar 21.5g (24%), fat 28.6g (41%), saturates 11.2g (56%), salt 0.4g (6.6%) of your guideline daily amount

Monday, 2 September 2013

Its the start of Autumn luckily Summer is still here

1 September is the start of Autumn but luckily summer and its glorious sunshine is still with us. I love this time of year when the garden is still providing us with treasures and hours of fun and relaxation. I spent a busy weekend making some glorious apple and mint jelly, pickling beetroot and eating bowls of sun kissed tomatoes.

Following on from my previous post I also trialed another gluten free recipe.
Gluten Free Scones. Delicious and made my Sunday breakfast a special treat.

Gluten Free Scones.

227g gluten free self raising flour
57g butter
28g sugar
2 Tbsp xantham gum
2 Tbsp baking powder
142 ml made up of 1 egg and milk.

Oven temperature 190 degrees celsius.
Rub butter into flour and mix in remaining ingredients. Roll out and cut out scones. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Gluten Free Recipes

Its been a while since I posted - so much has been going on. Over the past 6 months my body has gone awol and I have now been diagnosed with IBS-D. After much trial and error and folllowing a low-FODMAP diet I'm slowly getting back in control. As it appears so far I seem to be wheat intolerant and lactose intolerant. So here are some new food recipes I intend to try :
Gluten-free tomato, basil and feta muffins - makes 16

Sarah Alcock | 
Hannah Miles
The muffins will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container, but can be frozen and then reheated to serve.
  • 350g Doves Farm gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250ml milk
  • 250ml plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 160g (drained weight) sundried tomatoes preserved in oil, chopped, plus 1 tbsp of the oil
  • 200g feta, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Line 2 8-hole muffin tins with muffin cases.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, eggs, melted butter and tomato purée, then add this to the flour mixture.
  4. Whisk everything together well and season with salt and pepper. Mix the tomatoes, tomato oil, feta cheese and chopped basil into the mixture.
  5. Divide the mixture among the muffin cases, making sure that some of the pieces of cheese and sundried tomato sit on the top of each muffin.
  6. Bake the muffins for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Toasted Cumin Flatbreads.

400g gluten-free self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting (we used Doves)
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
300ml natural yogurt

Heat the grill to medium and dust a baking sheet with a little flour. Mix the flour and cumin seeds in a bowl, then season. Stir in the yogurt and 100ml water, then mix well to form a soft dough.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, then shape into circles or ovals about ½cm thick. Dust lightly with a little flour. Grill on the baking sheet for 3-5 mins on each side until golden and puffed. Serve warm.
Recipe from Good Food magazine, May 2009

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Autumn is in the air.

Actually I think I can say autumn is here. Its been getting colder every morning this week. We had to dig out the coats and scarves from the back of the cupboard and air the winter duvets. But I do love autumn  - the colours of the trees, going for walks  and then home again for a nice cup of hot chocolate or tea. Snuggling in bed in the morning trying to make those minutes stretch into hours before you have to get going again. Another thing I love about autumn is the food , warming soups and pasta bakes.

We picked our butternut squash and pumpkin this week and they are now sitting on the windowsill trying to harden off. I am quite proud of our efforts this year 5 beautiful butternuts and one lovely pumpkin, ooh I cant wait - butternut risotto , butternut soup, vegetable curries here I come.

Its also back been back to school and trying to adjust to the new school routine, with swimming, tennis, rainbows and beavers to contend with. The kids have still been helping out in the kitchen but its been a bit less frequent. Saying that we did make some delicious "crunchies" or ANZAC biscuits. These are biscuits I used to make with my gran when I was a little girl , we called them "crunchies" but the recipe I followed called them ANZAC biscuits. They are very similar to flapjacks but a bit more biscuit like. 
Here is the recipe if you want to have a go - they really are very easy to make and even easier to eat. ( We made ours in a baking try and cut them into rectangles but you can easily do round ones as the recipe says).

85g porridge oats
85g desiccated coconut
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
100g butter , plus extra butter for greasing
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.
Put dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on to buttered baking sheets, about 2.5cm/1in apart to allow room for spreading. Bake in batches for 8-10 mins until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Bach again soon with some more news and maybe a recipe or two.
Enjoy your autumn !

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Expanding our food interests - more food adventures.

We have had a busy week this week trying out some new recipes and trying to tempt the children to try some new tastes. These are some of the recipes we have tried.

Homemade Pasta 

Having watched a program called Simply Italian on channel 4 we decided to give making our own homemade pasta a go. It was surprisingly easy although next time I  need to make them a little bit thinner.

The link for the recipe is :-

Our raw pasta bows.

Cooked with basil pesto and parmesan - delicious.


Mexicana Salad

We also had a mexican dinner with tacos and guacamole etc. Looking for something new to add we decided to make a mexicana salad.


1 tin red kidney beans drained and boiled for 3 minutes
500g sweet potato diced and boiled until tender.
1 red onion diced
1 green pepper diced
2-3 tomatoes , diced
a handful of basil leaves chopped

1 clove garlic crushed
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix all the ingredients and dress with the salad dressing. Very delicious and went very well with the tacos, guacamole and sour cream.


Homemade Bagels

Having watched The Great British Bake-Off on BBC 1 a few weeks back and seeing them make bagels we decided to challenge ourselves and see if we could do it.

Using our bread maker we made a dough with:-

1 cup water - tepid
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups of breadflour
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast.

When the dough was made we divided it into 10 bits and rolled them into sausages about 20 cm long. Then you join the ends to make a ring, making sure the join is pinched together to seal. Place them on a greased tray and over with cling film and leave to prove for 20-25 minutes.

When they have proved , bring a large pot of water to the boil and add 20g caster sugar to it. When boiling gently place the bagels in the water about 2 or 3 at a time and cook them for about 1 or 2 minutes turning them gently half way through. Gently lift out with a slotted spoon and drain off excess water then placed back on the baking tray. Glaze with egg yolk mixed with a little water.

Bake them in a preheated oven ( 200 degress celsius) for 15-20 minutes till golden . Transfer to a rack when cooked and leave to cool.

This is the end result.
Lunch - a tuna, sweetcorn and guacamole bagel.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Butterflies in the garden.

We have been very blessed with lots of butterfly visitors to the garden this year. I have managed to catch some on camera. These are some photographs of our summer visitors.

Peacock Butterfly

Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Brimstone Butterfly

Red Admiral

I will try to add to the page when i am able to photograph some more. Getting them to pose for me is quite tricky.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Simple food even the kids can cook - 3

The recipe this week was a great success, even our "I don't like fish" boy Corbin had two of them as he said they were delicious.


Salmon Burgers with homemade chips and fennel with pesto dressing.


4 skinless salmon fillets , cut into chunks
1 lemon , zested
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp capers
45g fresh breadcrumbs
oil , for frying
1 tbsp tartare sauce
4 rolls, halved and toasted
tomato sliced
gherkins sliced.


Put the salmon , lemon zest and capers in a food processor with 2 tbsp of mayonnaise.
Pulse until roughly chopped. 
Put in a bowl then season really well and mix in the breadcrumbs. 
Form into four burgers.
Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan and cook the burgers for about 5-6 minutes on each side until golden.

Serve the burgers in buns piled up with lettuce, tomato and gherkins and a dollop of the tartare sauce or  mayonnaise.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Simple food even the kids can cook - 2

This week it was Corbin's turn to cook the dinner and as he is a big fan of pasta we decided it should be a pasta dish.


oven temperature 180 degrees celsius.

200g pasta shapes
2 tsp vegetable/olive oil
4 bacon rashers, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
250g broccoli
1 cup (250ml) cream
2 eggs
1 cups (80g) grated cheddar

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain, return to the pan.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon and onion in the oil over a medium heat until soft and lightly browned.

Break the broccoli into small florets. Boil or Steam  the broccoli until tender. Use a fork to mix the cream and eggs together in a jug.

Add bacon, onion, broccoli and the cream and egg mixture along with 1 cup (80g) cheddar to the pasta. Stir. Spoon into an ovenproof dish. Bake until golden ( about 20 - 25 minutes ).

Monday, 13 August 2012

Make, Do and Mend .

As the saying goes - Make, Do and Mend, well that is the weekend we had.

The Make part - was a dream catcher for Aimee. With a lot of improvising we raided the craft box and with a bit of garden wire we made a pink and silver dreamcatcher. End result one very happy little girl.

The Do part - well that has to be our trip into London to take the children to the theatre to see Horrible Histories - Barmy Brittain. I remember as a little girl going each year to see a play or musical as a special treat for my birthday and with the children being able to sit still for about an hour we educated them in a trip to the Garrick theatre in London. They seemed to enjoy the experience and seeing the old theatre. In fact we heard noises of can we go again, I want to see .... and the list started building.

The Mend part - Corbin has been asking for a desk to write on for ages now and being a bit tight on space we have left the project for a while. Last week while in the garden shed I noticed something tucked in the back corner and hey-presto it was a small child's desk. Looking a bit weather beaten and with a water rotted bits not to mention spider webs we dug it out and had a look if we could do anything with it. A bit of a cleanup and removal of the bottom legs , a new coat of paint and this is what we got:

All in all a lovely productive weekend.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Simple food even the kids can cook - 1.

I decided during the summer holidays to start introducing my children to the art of cooking, so that one day when they are older they will be able to feed themselves and not rely on ready meals and the like.
Aimee is 5 and Corbin is 7 and they love the idea of learning to cook. They take in turns  - each of them cooking dinner for the family one night each week. Obviously I help them out with using the hob and oven and cutting with sharp knives. So here is the first of our food recipes they cooked.

Aimee Fish ( Herby fish bake ).

oven 190 degrees celsius.

white fish fillets ( pollack, cod, haddock )
4 tablespoons natural or greek yogurt
2 tablespoons red pesto
chopped parsley, dill or chives.

Place the fish in an ovenproof dish.
Mix the yogurt, red pesto and herbs together and spread over the fish.
Grill/Bake for 7-10 minutes

We had it with homemade chips , and fresh homegrown beans and courgettes and peas.