Gluten free potato cakes

I was inspired to try making some potato cake type snacks after trying ‘Glamorgan Sausages’ from a company called Goodlife. I hadn’t heard of this company before, but discovered a few of their products in the frozen aisle. I had been craving some kind of veggie burger/bean burger thing for a while – the café I used to work in B.A. (before allergy) used to have these amazing spicy coated bean burgers and I miss them – so I was looking at the veggie burgers when I came across Goodlife. The packaging of the Glamorgan sausages doesn’t jump out at you as being gluten free, but once I had scanned over the cardboard box I found the small gluten free symbol, and of course checked the ingredients just to be sure!

I cooked the so-called veggie sausages and I have to say they tasted great, but I would one hundred per cent have called them potato and vegetable croquettes if it were me who had been in charge of naming! So after eating these I decided to try making my own potato cake-y-ish-type of something.

If you have left-over boiled potatoes from last night’s supper, this is a super tasty snack or meal accompaniment to use them up!

For this I used:

About 5 medium sized new potatoes
1 carrot
1 large onion
A handful of peas
1 tbsp gluten free flour
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsb chilli powder
Salt & pepper

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I boiled the potatoes, waited until they were cool, then mashed them up in a large bowl. After this I grated in the carrot – I chopped off the ends but didn’t peel it. I finely chopped the onion and added that to the bowl, along with the peas. With my hands I mixed up the mixture a little, then added in the flour, spices, salt and pepper. After all the ingredients are well and truly mushed up together, heat oil in a frying pan. On a clean surface or chopping board, sprinkle a good covering of flour, and then grab small handfuls of the mixture and press into the flour, making them into small pancakes about 1cm thick. Fry them in batches and turn them until they have turned golden brown. Enjoy!

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I wouldn’t say my version tasted very much like the ones I got from Goodlife – they were quite different – but I would definitely recommend trying some of their products if you come across them – they are all vegetarian and they do a selection of gluten, dairy and egg free food. I will definitely be looking out for more of their products!

Here is a link to their website. 

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What’s all the fuss about quinoa?

Gluten free quinoa

I had tasted quinoa about a year ago in a salad – I liked it because of its nutty taste but I can’t say I was overwhelmed by it. I know it’s become quite a faddy thing recently with the rise of super foods and even gluten free diets becoming popular as a weight loss and healthy lifestyle method as opposed to just being for people who have severe dietary conditions. I don’t usually go in for these fad type things but I do like to try new things, especially if I think they can improve a gluten free diet. I’m not dismissing that quinoa is tasty and some people have genuinely taken on eating it for good now, I just think it has sprung up a little too quickly so I was a bit sceptical of it before I tried it again.

My mum had seen quinoa flour on the internet and she is always trying to buy new flours and gluten free products to help make my eating easier and more enjoyable. She bought a bag (a REALLY big bag) ready for me to try cooking with when I next visited home. All the recipes I had seen were more specialist things as I understood quinoa adds a distinct texture and flavour, so to use it as an addition as opposed to substitute flour. I decided to make quinoa pancakes as I had definitely seen recipes for these and it was a quick and easy thing to try out the flour with and it would give me an idea of the taste and texture of it for if I wanted to cook more with it. I measured ¼ pint of milk and the same volume of the quinoa flour with one egg and whisked. I cooked one just as you would with any other pancake in a frying pan – so far, everything seemed normal. When I tasted the pancake, I didn’t initially like it, however it had a nice, different after taste – as I said it was quite nutty. I decided that quinoa pancakes alone weren’t too great so experimented with the mixture, adding apricots to some, and raisins and almonds to the rest. These were better as they added much more to the pancakes and cut up the texture which was pretty dry. I had maple syrup with the almond and raisin ones which was lovely, however you wouldn’t want to eat too many of these pancakes as the dry texture could stick in your mouth. My mum suggested making savoury pancakes with quinoa flour such as corn fritters which I agreed would have been really nice, especially with bacon. I’m not sure that I’ll be having quinoa pancakes again, but I will definitely experiment with baking different things with the flour.

Quinoa

Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake

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It was my Grandma’s 88th birthday yesterday so obviously, it was cake making time! I couldn’t decide between an amazing flourless rich chocolate cake I make, a cream and fruit cake, or lemon drizzle. In the end I decided I better go with which one I thought she’d appreciate most (although if I’d been making it for myself it would 100% have been the chocolate one) so I went with a gluten free lemon drizzle cake. The strong citrus taste gives it loads of flavour and the ‘drizzle’ part of it keeps it moist. Because the drizzle and icing are made from pure lemon juice, it tastes amazingly fresh and zingy unlike some synthetic overly-sweet lemon cakes you can buy in shops.

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For my Grandma’s birthday day out, we took her to the amazing cake shop in outside of Kingussie I mentioned before, The Potting Shed, so after we’d had cake there, my lemon cake seemed a bit redundant! But it was enjoyed anyway (I hope!)

The recipe I use for the main cake mixture is one I took from a basic fruit cake recipe I used to use when I worked in a coffee shop. It works really well for fruit cakes and more dense cakes you’d bake in a loaf tin and is less runny than a regular sponge cake mixture. I’ve changed it around a bit to suit being gluten free but I find it gives a great result as with the lemon drizzle cake, the lemon adds extra moisture, and if you were to use it as a fruit cake mixture the fruits in it provide the moisture.

Ingredients:

(For the cake mixture) –

1 un-waxed lemon

7oz self-raising gluten free flour

4oz margarine

4oz caster sugar

2 large eggs

(For the top)

1 un-waxed lemon

Roughly 1oz caster sugar

Roughly 3oz icing sugar

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Method:

Firstly, turn the oven on to 160°C, and line a loaf tin about 8X3 inches and 4 inches deep. Cream together the sugar and margarine with an electric whisk and then add in the flour. Add the rind of both of the lemons (the one for the top just needs the juice) to the mixture, then juice the lemon. Beat the eggs separately and add the lemon juice – add this to the main mixture and whisk until there are no lumps. Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and bake for around 40 minutes. When the cake comes out it should be firm.

To make the ‘drizzle’ part of the cake, cut the remaining lemon in half and juice one half. Pour the juice into a small bowl and add some caster sugar. 1oz is a guide – probably about a tablespoon will do because you don’t want this mixture too thick. With a skewer or another long pointy utensil, stab holes in the top of the cake – probably about 8 – 10 evenly along it, however if the cake looks like it starts to crumble when the holes are poked in it, don’t add too many close together. Pour the lemon sugar mixture over the top of the cake, being careful to fill the small holes that have been made. The more holes that are made, the more moist the cake will be, but don’t push it because when you go to cut it into slices, it’ll just fall apart.

For the icing, juice the other half of the lemon and use the same bowl as the first lemon sugar mix. Gradually add the icing sugar until you have a white paste – if it doesn’t look like there will be enough lemon juice to make enough icing to spread on the whole cake, add a tiny bit of water although it is a shame to do this because it dilutes the taste. Remove the cake from the baking paper and place it on the plate it will be served on. Then generously smear the icing over the top – it will fall down the sides but I think this adds to it.

Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Apple Crumble Recipe!

I love apple crumble so much. It is such a great dessert but I also have it just as a snack sometimes – probably not the most slimming food! Tonight I’ve actually made it just to have for supper, not as a dessert as I couldn’t be bothered to wait for after to eat it! It works quite well with gluten free flour, but I find it doesn’t go as crunchy as ‘normal’ stuff does. I like to put bits of butter in amongst the crumble and over the top as this can help it to get more brown and crunchy.

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Some people like to flavour their apples with spice – I’ve seen quite a lot that use cinnamon but I like to use cloves. To me cloves make things taste a bit like Christmas! There are loads of different variations to making apple crumble – ingredients, whether or not you cook the apples first, and how you make the topping. I don’t cook the apples first, especially for a gluten free crumble as it needs to cook for quite a long time to fully bake the topping (as with all gluten free baking, it tends to take longer to brown) so cooking it all for a longer time means the apples will naturally fully cook slowly. I add sugar in with the layers of apples so this creates a lovely syrup, which gets flavoured by the cloves I add.

For me, serving apple crumble with ice cream or pouring cream is a must – I love the cold of the ice cream against the hot apple crumble if it’s just out of the oven!

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Ingredients:

2 large cooking apples – (I use Bramleys)
1 tbsp light brown sugar
10 cloves
5oz plain gluten-free flour
3oz caster sugar (1tbsp of this is for the apples, the rest for the crumble)
3oz butter (cold, straight from the fridge)

Method:

First, prepare the apple base: peel the apples, and chop them into thin wedges around 2-3mm in thickness. Layer the apples neatly in a large dish around 8×8 inches and 2 inches deep, sprinkling on each of the caster and light brown sugar as you go with each layer, until all the apples are used. Place the cloves evenly on top of the apples.

To make the crumble, weigh the flour and remaining caster sugar and put them into a mixing bowl. Take the butter and cut it up into small chunks and add this into the bowl also. With your hands, rub the butter into the powder mixture – this might feel a little greasy on your hands – keep going until the mixture has the texture of breadcrumbs.

Carefully pour the crumble on top of the apples, making sure no apples are left exposed, as if they are, they’ll burn and become very dry in the oven. Cut small chunks of butter and put them among the crumble, half exposed as this will add colour to the dish.

Enjoy!

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Just in time for pancake day!

Gluten free pancakes 

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This recipe makes lovely thin pancakes which I find are perfect with just fresh lemon and caster sugar.

Ingredients:

4oz plain gluten free flour

1 large egg

½ pint of milk

Sunflower oil for frying

Method:

Pour the milk into a measuring jug and then add in the flour, then the egg. Use a whisk to thoroughly beat the mixture. Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan and pour some mixture in, rolling it around the pan to cover the surface. Flip when the edges start to brown slightly, and repeat with each pancake, adding a little oil as needed each time.

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Gluten free toad in the hole and Yorkshire pudding recipe!

This batter can be used either to make toad in the hole or Yorkshire pudding. I prefer it as a toad in the hole, because as you will know if you have made gluten free Yorkshire puddings, they don’t rise and become a bowl shape like regular ones, they puff up more like a bread roll. The toad in the hole has more surface area, therefore leaving more of the batter to get crispy, something I miss with the dough-ey consistency of the Yorkshire puddings.

If, like me you had a struggle finding gluten free sausages in supermarkets such as Tesco, I’d suggest Marks and Spencers as even their value range – which is only 61% pork – is made with gluten free crumb, as are most of their other own-brand sausages.

I make enough for two meals so I cut it in half and freeze one for another time. Using half the ingredients makes enough for one meal.

Ingredients:

4oz self-raising gluten free flour
2 eggs
4 fluid oz milk
1 fluid oz water
1 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper
dripping or oil
4 sausages

Turn the oven on to 220 as soon as you start cooking. Cook the sausages until done, but not crispy as they will have more cooking time in the oven with the batter. Whilst the sausages are cooking, pour the milk into a large measuring jug (you will use the jug for the entire mixture so it needs to be big enough to fit a whisk in) and then measure the water in with the milk. Weigh the flour and put that in along with the baking powder, and then the eggs after. Add the salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Use a hand or electric whisk to mix the batter – if you are using a hand whisk make sure to mix it quite well as to get some air in. When the sausages have about 5 minutes to go, put the oil or dripping into a baking tray and put in the oven. The fat needs to be smoking hot.
When the sausages are cooked enough and the fat has been in the oven for 5 minutes or is hot enough, take the pan out of the oven, place the sausages in it evenly spaced apart, then pour in the batter – this needs to be done quickly so that the fat stays hot enough and sizzling when the mixture is poured in. Put this back in the oven now for about 10-15 minutes and take it out when it’s quite brown.

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Vegetable pakora recipe!

These are a really good accompaniment to a curry, or just to have as part of a ‘bits and bobs’ meal. They are made with gram flour which is made of ground chickpeas and is a naturally gluten free flour. The ingredients you add can vary depending on what vegetables you have and which spices you like most and so on. This recipe makes around 12 pakoras. Here is my interpretation 🙂
I also like to make a yoghurt sauce to go with it.

Ingredients:

1 ½ medium to large sized onions
Half a carrot
A small potato
A small handful of peas
2 table spoons of gram flour
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of ground coriander
1 tsp of ground ginger
½ tsp of chili powder
½ tsb of salt
4 table spoons of cold water
Plenty of sunflower or vegetable oil for (semi) deep frying

Method:

Chop the onions into thin slices, grate the carrot and potato and put the peas all into a bowl together. Add in all the spices, salt and the crushed clove of garlic along with half the gram flour. Add water gradually until you have a doughy, not too liquid texture. Add more gram flour and water until the vegetables are all coated (but not so coated you can’t see them!) in the mixture and it is firm enough to be able to scoop into firm balls between two spoons. Heat the oil in a small non-stick saucepan (the oil should be about 1 ½ inches high in the pan). Test if the oil is hot enough for frying by dropping a tiny bit of mixture in – if it sizzles it is hot enough. Fry the pakoras in small batches of 4 or 5 and remove from the oil when golden.

Yoghurt sauce:
A small tub of natural yoghurt
around ¼ of a cucumber
½ a teaspoon of mint sauce
A squeeze of lemon

Chop up the cucumber finely and put in a bowl along with the yoghurt, mint and lemon, stir together and serve 🙂

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Gluten free corn fritters recipe!

Most people that I have made this for have started by having never heard of corn fritters and thinking they sound weird. But they end up loving them. They are basically savoury pancakes with sweetcorn in them – I have added fried onion and cut up bits of bacon to them before, and my sister likes adding some fresh mozzarella. Basically anything goes when making these diverse little wonders 🙂
Sometimes I make it as a side, or just have corn fritters with either sausages or bacon – the salty-ness of the meat compliments the sweetness of the corn.

Ingredients:

4oz self-raising gluten free flour (alternatively use plain flour and ½ tsp. baking powder)
1 egg
4 fluid oz. milk
1 fluid oz. water
A generous helping of salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tin of corn
sunflower or vegetable oil for frying

 

Method:

Use a measuring jug to mix these in, as it is easiest when it comes to pouring the mixture out and you will need one to measure the liquids. First pour in the milk and water, then sieve in the flour. Add the egg, salt and pepper then stir with a metal spoon. Drain the tin of corn, then tip it into the mixture and mix gently. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat and pour the mixture in dollops of three or four, depending on how big you want them. You may need to add more oil to the pan with each batch to stop them drying out. Fry as you would with pancakes or until you can see the edges getting golden brown, then flip over and fry on each side until cooked and golden brown.

Enjoy!

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