In a sea of honey.

cute,kitten,pastry,apple,tart,lick,eat,eating,cat

It’s Sunday again and no matter how much I have going on I can always manage to squeeze in a bit of baking during the day. Having Ash has meant that we’ve had an abundance of visitors scheduling in to see him and today was a busy one. I had an hour to make something and as usual, music (Kate Bush) and reading about food had inspired yet again.

Kate Bush is a massive inspiration to me, and not just because I like to listen to her music but in the way that when I listen to her gorgeous words, they appear as photographs in my mind. They play out stories that are so immensely creative and interesting, that at first you have no idea what she’s going on about- then you just, ‘get it’. Her music always comes together better with time. A bit like pastry really…

So that was my train of thought this morning. Kate bush and pastry, a winning combination I feel.

Her song ‘Sunset’ from Aerial begins with these beautiful lyrics.

‘Could be honeycomb
In a sea of honey
A sky of honey
Whose shadow, long and low
Is slipping out of wet clothes?
And changes into
The most beautiful
Iridescent blue’

Imagine a sea of honey? Mmm. Obviously that would be a mean feat of a task, so I opted for honey, apples and pastry.

‘In a sea of honey’ and apple tartlets

(with a dark, olive oil and buckwheat tart crust)

tart, almonds,apples,honey,buckwheat,olive oil

[Subtitution notes: For the pastry I would most likely subtitute the buckwheat for more of the gluten free flour blend, or brown rice flour. If you want to cut out some of the sugar in the filling, do replace with agave nectar or maple syrup.]

Dark Olive oil and buckwheat tart crust
Makes 4 tartlets

60g 1/2 + 2 tbsp all purpose gluten free flour blend (with x gum in)

60g 1/2 a cup of buckwheat flour

Teaspoon of cinnamon

80g butter
(15ml) 1 tbsp olive oil
(45ml ) 3 tbsp water
14g  brown fine sugar
1/4 tsp salt

 

Honey and Apple filling

 3 Green Apples

50g of brown sugar

Tablespoon of water

Teaspoon of cinnamon

4 dollops of honey

Vanilla extract

 

Crumble top

 Some gluten free oats, sliced almonds and a bit of flour mixed into some caster sugar

 Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, combine all tart ingredients except flour over low heat.

Cook for 15-20 minutes, allowing the mixture to simmer and cook, until butter mixture begins to brown slightly.

Pop in the dry ingredients all together at once and stir very quickly until all of the dough comes together while removing from the heat.

Take the dough out and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.

Press into the tart tin/tartlet tins you wish to use and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to cool.

Preheat oven to 200c

Prick the bottom of the tartlets/tart all over with a fork.

Bake for 10 minutes and press down if the tart base puffs up.

Take the tarts out of the oven and set aside.

Make your apple filling. Core peel and cut the apples and place over a medium heat with the rest of the filling mixture.

Simmer until the mixture is glossy and the apples are soft.

Put the apple filling into the tart cases.

Top with the crumble and bake for 15 minutes more until brown.

Serve warm with mascarpone or double cream.

 

 

Once i had loveee, it was for cranberries. Soon turned out there were Blondies.

cute, kitten, asleep, sofa, cat, bengal, Ash, gorgeous, small, fluffy

So I got Ash to finally go to sleep bless him. My plan was to completely tire him out with an hour of playtime this morning chasing string just never gets old apparently. Adorable as he is, there is nothing I like better than to bake during the day and I’m sure Ash will appreciate that day that I cook some marvelous salmon fish cakes.

‘Blondies’ never fail to make me laugh really, mostly because of their name and the fact that I can’t stop singing Heart of Glass with food puns whenever someone offers me one. Naturally I’ve named this recipe after the Blondie song  ‘Picture This’–How could I not? It’s from the 80’s.

I’ve never baked them before. Until I’d seen a raspberry and white chocolate version online; I was tempted to use my last store cupboard cranberries for something different.

dark, chocolate, cranberries, cranberry, chopped, roughly, blondies

The recipe has taken a few attempts to perfect however I added cardamom into the equation. My fiancé has always been a big fan of making and eating curries, and due to my sensitive IBS I have never been able to try cardamom in a dish. An English cook, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (who’s River Cottage programmes I adore) made a fragrant yummy cardamom cake, which conclusively triggered the train of thought to try it delicately in something sweeter.

blondies, brownies, cookies, cranberry, cranberries, chocolate, cardamom, blondie, baking

These Blondies were the perfect solution, the cranberries are sharp and chewy and the chocolate is intense and rich in that chewy cookie cardamom base. In my heart of hearts though, I could not resist dribbling on more chocolate to mimic a brownie, but alas my conversion to these is well underway.

Enjoy with a cup of strong coffee.

‘Picture this’ – cardamom and cranberry , chocolate blondies’

[Substitution notes: You can substitute both the sorghum flour and buckwheat for an all-purpose Gluten free flour blend, or indeed with regular flour if you can handle wheat. Other good alternatives would be millet, quinoa flour, almond flour. The one I've chose works best flavour wise with the cardamom as it's quite earthy and strong and of course, healthier. Feel free to substitute the butter for oil]

Unsalted Butter – 5 tbsp 70g(melted)

Dark Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup (120g)

Eggs – 2

Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp

Ground cardamom (I ground my own with a pestle and mortar)- around 11 pods worth

Sorghum Flour – 1/2 cup (75g)

Buckwheat Flour – 1/2 cup (75g)

Teaspoon of xantham gum

Half a teaspoon of baking powder

A handful of Dried cranberries (roughly chopped)

Very dark chocolate – 1/2 cup (50g) chopped into decent chunks

½ teaspoon of sea salt

170 degrees preheat oven.

Grease a deep baking tray (square) with butter or flavourless oil.

Melt the butter and wait till it is cool.

Add in the sugar, vanilla extract and mix until creamy and smooth.

Crack in the eggs one by one and fold them in slowly.

Put the flours, cardamom, baking powder, xantham gum, baking powder salt into a separate bowl and mix thoroughly.

Gradually add the dry mixture bit by bit into the wet mixture. Do not over mix keep it gentle!

Stir in the cranberries and chocolate pieces.

Cook for 25 minutes.

blondies, cranberry, cardamom, dark, chocolate

Cup of tea , coffee anyone?

Kitten cooking

Kitten, gorgeous, cooking, eating, making, naughty, cat, how, to , make, blondies, cardamom, cranberry, chocolate

This is Ash.

He’s mine and Rob’s (my fiance) new addition to the family.

We didn’t have too many plans yesterday, but after an internet advert for this adorable Bengal Cat, that certainly changed. We learnt one major rule: Do not underestimate the power of the internet.

Today however, I did have plans. To make a new recipe that I’ve been adapting for months: Cardamom, cranberry and dark chocolate blondies. Unfortunately i was succumbed to huge amounts of pawing on my lap, ‘kitten-walks’ over the laptop and the constant cuteness of course. I’m surprised i even got this post up, but lets just thank WordPress for the ‘save draft’ button.

Those blondies will come this week, but Rob will have to be on kitty supervision! By next week I’m determined to have Kitty quarters and cooking quarters separate; but for now..just look at that face!

cute,kitten,face,cooking,gluten free, adorable, bengal, cat

Millet, cinammon and molasses pancakes on a Monday ‘mourn’.

Making pancakes on a Monday morning is not necessarily the most convenient thing to do in practice but if on a Sunday night – you also dread the morning rush and lack of comfort in bleak early hours, then make the mixture and leave it over night. It makes them taste better and your Monday’s will no longer be so mournful.

millet, cinnamon, flour, pancakes, maple, syrup, honey, molasses, gluten, free, dairy, free, breakfast

I used millet this time mostly because of it’s nutritional value (and by putting it in pancakes I can get my fiancé to eat healthier), a single serving has 15 percent of your daily allowance of Iron, and from someone who tries to avoid red meat for IBS like myself; its very good. Secondly, in my opinion it’s the flour that tastes the most like wheat, which is always a bonus for us gluten-free types. You can read more about Mr Millet here: Millet Flour

Anyway, so – eat millet pancakes on a Monday morning so you a) have more energy, and feel fuller for longer b) feel less guilty about all the honey/maple syrup you drizzle on and c) feel happier before popping off to work.

What more can I say.

Mmmm…..

millet,cinnamon, flour, pancakes, maple, syrup, honey, molasses, gluten, free, dairy, free, breakfast

Monday mourn’ Millet, Cinnamon, and Molasses pancakes.

[Substitution notes: You can replace the Millet flour with All purpose Gluten free flour blend and take out the Xanthan Gum. Half Sorghum and Half Buckwheat works brilliantly too. If you avoid dairy, I would imagine rice milk would be a good substitute with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil.)

1 and 1/4 cups (190g) of Millet flour

¼ cup (40g) of corn flour

 1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder

Teaspoon of sea salt

Teaspoon of Xanthan gum

2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon

1 teaspoons of molasses

2 eggs

2 cups of milk and tablespoon of yoghurt – (I tried using all yoghurt but it turned out far too stodgy)

Honey and cinnamon to taste

Mix dry ingredients, and I mean really mix well, you want all that baking powder and corn flour to work.

Mix the molasses in with the milk and yoghurt. Molasses is very much like sugary tar and you need to keep stirring until your milk turns brown and your spoon comes out somewhat clean.

Fold in the eggs into the dry ingredients until it forms dough.

Fold in the milk, yoghurt and molasses mixture little by little until well combined.

Heat a griddle or a frying pan with a very heavy bottom with some butter.

When on a moderate heat add a dollop of the pancake mixture. (These pancakes will burn quickly so a moderate heat for a longer amount of time is better than a very hot heat!)

Flip as soon as one side has browned completely.

Serve with lots of honey, butter and a sprinkling of sugar.

Let me know if you had a good Monday after :)

Sarah x

Has bean and always will bean, a fan of Sundays.

Every single cook has an inspiration. On Sunday’s there is a particular cook that, for me, epitomizes wholesome and comforting Sunday cooking.

Today I’ve cooked a Nigel Slater recipe ‘Tomato and Bean stew’ from Real Cooking (Penguin; 2006). It’s page has been bent over at the top corner so that whenever it gets to Sunday, I always have the recipe to my emergency when I see left over vegetables in the fridge.

Spring onions, garlic, stew,

The basis is really just tinned tomatoes and any kind of bean or lentils you can find. You start with olive oil, garlic and spring onions, add in some pancetta or bacon. Pour in one can of tinned tomatoes, one can of water followed by a handful of beans or lentils and 2 bay leafs. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add some cabbage.

I would rather not display a ‘recipe’ as such as this is really about what is left in your cupboard.

If you want to add in leftover red wine, do. Today I added courgettes and a big lump of very mature cheddar and it really puts a stronger taste on the dish.  I would advise these alternatives if you don’t have bay leafs in the house.

cheese, bay leaf, tomato, juice, stew, courgettes

I cook this on a Sunday for many reasons but the main one is because it is a recipe that can be topped up throughout the beginning of the week with more water/stock, more vegetables and used for lunches to take to work. It really keeps flavour and comfort because of its simplicity – and if this recipe means I get that lazy Sunday feeling throughout the week, so be it.

cheese, bay leaf, tomato, juice, stew, courgettes, beans, lentils, dinner

‘I think’ said the sweet potato ‘therefore I yam’.

When watching endless amounts of repeated, Christmas F.R.I.E.N.D.S episodes over the years I never really knew what a yam was until I read a few recipes referring to this ingredient that looked identical to a sweet potato. A staple of comfort food, and naturally my staple for comfort television was indeed F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

There is a thread of articles on The Guardian U.K website at the moment about ‘What comfort food means to us’ and how food will always in some way lift your mood, and in some way change the way you feel. So, aptly I’ve come to blog about what this category of food means to me.
The essence of a really great comfort food is simplicity for me. It does not necessarily have to be unhealthy, but it really has to aid that really depressive state we get either after a hard day of work, or waking up to a torrential downpour. My comfort food would ultimately start with two slices of toast. It really is magical because of it’s diversity to be whatever you want it to be a massive cheese toasty or the ultimate sugar fest of peanut butter and nutella. (Being gluten-free I can’t thank the brand Genius enough in the U.K, for releasing convenience –edible- bread) But sometimes it’s about the ingredient, and sweet potato does hit the comfort food nail on the head.

I made a salad.

I wanted to make something all in one go that would have a self sourcing dressing when cooking the sweet potato, so the flavour would transmit all around the different textures.

The garlic-cooked whole in the roasting tray turns sweet and then counterbalances with the lemon drizzle later on.

The chickpeas provide a nutty undertone, which brings it all together.

Comfort food is ultimately about adapting for yourself, what I’d love to know is what you would change about this recipe to make it ‘comfort’ for you?

Sarah x

L’Amour looks something like yam salad

1 Sweet potato

Bunch of cabbage greens (dependent on how healthy you want to feel)

½ a Lemon

Good quality Olive oil

2 or 3 Cloves of garlic

A handful of tinned or prepared Chickpeas

Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 230c (that’s 450d for you peeps overseas)

Peel and cut your sweet potato into cubes and place into a well olive oiled roasting tray; you will use the oil later for your salad dressing.

Pop in two cloves of garlic whole. Season well with salt and a tad of pepper; I tend to season it with pepper at the end to avoid bits burning and what not.

Pop the tray in the oven for about 20-30 minutes (dependent on how roasted you want them)

After 5 minutes put your cabbage greens into simmering water for 15 mins; you want to keep their freshness and crisp.

Dress your plate with the sweet potato leaving the oil in the roasting tray…

…add the chickpeas and cabbage.

Squeeze over half a lemon and then give all a good merge. Mmm.

Crush the whole garlic’s in the roasting tray so all the juice runs out, give this a stir and pour over the salad.

 

I finish the bowl and feel completely satisfied.

How to eat a banana and keep your dignity.

I have to say for the sake of this blog that I’ve become more inclined to change the names of my recipes to something more humourous. I’m not sure if ‘Ba-nah-nah’ has quite achieved this as such but at least I’m safe in the knowledge that I can happily sing along to the tune of Rihanna and Drake’s hit ‘What’s my name’- that’s when everyone’s out of the house and I can’t find a Kate Bush song that fits the ba-nah-nah. And there goes the dignity…

It’s one of those foods that I never really got on with at first, I’m not sure why but I’m sure the shape of the banana fruit always had something to do with it; of course now I’m more mature;) Throughout my childhood my parents would always try to get enough fruit in me as possible; a normal task. Why did they never think of banana bread? I think it foolish.
So here I’ve attempted to make a somewhat-healthy gluten-free banana bread.

Ba-nah-nah Bread

Substitution notes: It’s made with the basis of Buckwheat, Sorghum and almond flour. If you can’t get Mr Buck or Mrs Sorg, you could substitute it with ready-made gluten-free flour (and take out the Xanthan gum), whole wheat flour if you can take gluten, or millet flour which would really keep the ‘wheaty’earthy tone. I haven’t tried substituting the almond flour but I would recommend tapioca flour or coconut flour to really keep the texture. The butter used could also be replaced with oil, if you want to make this recipe dairy-free.

Ingredients

½ cup 60g of buckwheat and 60g ½ cup sorghum
1 cup (115g) of ground almonds
1 tsp (gluten-free) baking powder
1 teaspoon of xanthan gum
¼ cup (60g) of dark muscuvado sugar
Maple syrup (60ml)
-2 tsp cinnamon
– a pinch of nutmeg
A good pinch of salt
3 eggs
3 very very ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (125g) of melted butter, or oil
Sprinkling of walnuts/50g chopped Dark Chocolate (optional)

Heat an oven to 170C.
Before you start make sure all your ingredients are room temperature it really helps the rise and the way it all comes together; eggs are your friend and they will thank you for this.
Grease and line a bread pan with olive oil/butter and put to one side.
Use two bowls and it’s foolproof. Nothing will go wrong.
Mix the wet ingredients together in one bowl and mix the dry ingredients together in another.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet.

Do not over mix! You will get to a point as you stir that the mixture will turn from eggy yellow to a light brown. Stop as soon as this happens!
Bake for approximately 50 minutes – I would check the bread at 40mins to make sure the brownness on top is to your liking.
Wait until cooler…to eat (it’s just so lovely… warm..)

Hello wordpress!

Well i suppose i should say hello! However it’s not just myself who will be featuring on this blog -(a rather obsessed gluten free baker and Kate Bush fanatic) but also my fiance Rob who is a huge food fan and an excellent cook in his own right.

Over the past four years of being gluten intolerant (i’m not actually diagnosed but i suffer from severe IBS) i’ve been so thankful of all these lovely food blogs that i’ve grown to love over the years; essentially i have now gathered enough knowledge to attempt my own, and to share my recipes to you all. That’s not saying that this blog will be strictly gluten free- but it will definitely strictly give you recipes that you can always alter to be.

I can’t stress how much a food blog can help you over come the shock of having to come to terms with cutting out every single item with gluten in, no more ready meals, no more convenience shop brought sandwiches…but wait, do these things even sound that appetizing anyway? It makes you realise how much healthier you could be without all the chemicals and hooblah that you can’t even read on the packet. I do believe in having an option, and this doesn’t mean it has to be ‘gluten based’ (but sometimes it’s just nice:P).

Before i blaggle on much more,- i look forward to discussing with you creation, yummy photography and substitution ideas from all areas of the world,

But for now..a cuppatea is a callin’

Sarah x