Honeybuns Gluten Free Cake Mix Review

Honeybuns, gluten free, cake mixWhen Honeybuns release a new Gluten Free cake, product or new recipe i always get excited, their treats are always well thought out, stylish and now, will always be gluten free- with the change of the gluten free oats in their flapjacks! Something which shows that they really care about their wider audience.

I was sent through their new Gluten Free Cake Mix to try which makes a plain sponge and can be altered to suit any occasion with the handy ‘idea’ leaflet which is enclosed in the tube. This, and the tube itself was so stunningly designed, that i really didn’t want to throw it away. So it’s being kept in my cupboard as a measuring cup holder. These cake mixes would be an excellent gift idea for any lover of baking.

Honeybuns, gluten free, cake mix

The cake mix itself is so simple, two small bags that you combine in a bowl, add two eggs and melted butter and you’re off to gluten free heaven. I made the Lemon Loaf Cake option which was on the handy leaflet, i added the zest of 1 lemon to the mix and a teaspoon of oil. Popped it in the oven for 40 minutes and hey presto- foolproof cake. The kind of cake i love. I then followed the recipe for syrup and topped it with some icing sugar and lemon juice drizzle icing. My hubby’s favourite. Honeybuns also informed me that if you want to make this dairy free too just ‘substitute the butter with the same quantities of soya margarine or oil.”

Honeybuns, Cake mix, Gluten Free,  Lemon Loaf Cake

This is such a good mix to just have in the cupboard, and although it’s a little expensive (£4.99) , the ingredients are very good quality as well as the instructions and packaging that would be a waste to throw out! This will be a thankful addition to my ever increasing drama of what to get people for christmas, as it caters to all sorts of audiences.

Honeybuns, Cake mix, Gluten Free,  Lemon Loaf Cake

For more details on where to buy Honeybuns products please hop on over to their website.

This product was sent to me complimentary to review but did no way impact on my opinion of the product.

Have a Gluten Free Christmas (Part two)

Have a Gluten Free Christmas. Nibbles, Pies and all sorts!

Christmas is so close i can feel it! So here’s the second round up of everything you need to have a perfect Gluten Free Christmas. Lots of nibbly things this time from Crackers, Nibbles, Drinks and Pastry. OoooooOOOoooooh.

The Best Gluten Free Crackers and Nibbles.

It goes without saying for all ‘Gluten Free-er’s’ that Mrs Crimbles Cheese Crackers is an ultimate staple for cheese munching. You can pick these up in most supermarkets in the free from section. Ultimate staple for me and some of my gluten eating friends are obsessed with these too!

If you want something a bit different and fancy for a cheese slice, i’m in love with Raw Health’s Crispbread Provencal. They are delicious, and ever so addictive, the taste is intense and they’re generally very healthy for you. Win Win. You can buy them from Goodness Direct.

Now if you need a good Crispy nibble this Christmas, i cannot recommend more highly the Stilton and Port Kettle Chips. These are absolute heaven.

The Best Gluten Free Mince Pies and Christmas Puddings.

Now i am a strictly, must-make-your-own Mince pies and what not kinda gal. I do find shop bought ones way too sweet for me but obviously i can understand hugely if you need a pie in an instant; so here is my shortlist of my personal faves.

Lovemore Gluten Free Deep Filled Mince Pies, are wonderful. These are always in my local shop so i tend to get these more than others, they are wonderfully filled and not too small either. On heating they keep their shape very well too, which gives these a thumbs up in my opinion.

OK Foods also do lovely mince pies, i much prefer the filling of these ones -a bit finer. However these do seems to burst like crazy after a short blast in the microwave, so using and oven is the key to warming through with these!

The final mince pies i recommend are the Genius ones, which are my ultimate favourite in terms of buttery taste. Unfortunately i haven’t been able to come across these in the shops yet, but i would encourage you to order these online or via supermarkets online as they are much much better than the supermarket varieties which seem to all be just plastered with sugar inside and out.

If you’re like me, and you like to make your own Mince Pies, i have found that Dietary Specials Shortcrust Pastry and the Naturally Good No added Sugar Mincemeat is an excellent combination. Especially if you just want to get in the kitchen and put some together quickly that are not sickly.

For Christmas Puddings i would definitely suggest you track down the M&S Gluten Free Luxury Christmas Pudding (in green packaging). I had a small one of this last year at a friends house and remember it being rich and gorgeously fruity- you could really taste the zest which made it a nice fresh change from an overload of brandy.

As for someone who likes a more fruity taste, i have got my eye on Jenkins and Hustwit’s Gluten Free Fruit Pudding. I have not yet tried this but looking in the ingredients list it seems to me like a winner. I may have to go for this one myself this year. If anyone has tried it -please leave a comment below!

Christmas Gluten Free Extras/Essentials.

Free and Easy, Gluten Free, Gravy

The ultimate gravy in my opinion is one that’s made entirely from scratch from all the natural juices of the meat, and all you really need is a tiny bit of GF Doves Farm Plain Flour (easy to get in all Supermarkets Free From sections) to thicken things up a bit. If you’re cooking for just one gluten free guest though, it may be easier for you to buy a separate alternative and one of my favourite gravy’s is the Free & Easy Caramelised Red Onion Gravy. Rich and full of flavour but i highly encourage you to make your own with gluten free plain flour… nothing goes better with your meats than homemade ;)

Wondering what to give a Gluten Free/ Coeliac guest for Breakfast? Order some of these Fria Cinammon Rolls and they will be in imaginary gluten heaven. Cinnamon Rolls and pastries are things we dream about..and these are dangerously addictive. Perfect for an indulgent croissant alternative.

Aside the obviously new alcoholic Gluten Free Beers, check out Carly from GlutenFreeB’s post here on comparing the best. A fabulous non alcoholic drink, good for any cold symptoms too, is Belvoir Fruit Farms Spiced Winter Berries Cordial, which you can serve up a bit like a posh hot Ribena really.

I hope this has given you some good ideas and aided you in how to cater for gluten free dietary requirements over the holidays. Please let me know if you’ve seen any good Christmas gluten free nibbles and things and i’ll add them to the list! There’s always discussion on Twitter @wbites – get involved :)

For Gluten Free Chocolates and Advent Calenders see my Part One blog post here!

Happy Holidays!

Sarah x

Ash x

Miko x

Gluten Free Hot Spot- La Panameña, Bristol

Simply described as “Latin America meets Italy. Panamá meets Mediterraneo. Bringing real Latin American food to Bristol” , La Panemeña aims to bring some authentic fever to the Bristol food circuit.

I was so glad i could come to their first Bristol pop up event. All Gluten Free apart from one dessert option, i was truly in allergen heaven.

La Panemena, event, bristol

On booking the event Carla from Can Be Bribed With Food (La Panameña’s creator), put my mind at ease by telling me that everything but one thing was to be Gluten Free. I did a tiny dance in my seat. I love trying different foods, and the words ‘Homemade’ and ‘Comfort Food’ make me sink at the knees.

The first event, entitled Dia de la Bandera (Day of the Flag) invited us for a mere £20 per person for a 3 course meal and bring your own. “Come join us celebrate Panamá’s independence from Colombia at 40 Alfred Place for a Sunday lunch filled with Latin American warmth! One sitting, communal tables, lots of food, colour and music.” I decided to bring along my camera and take some photos. I knew this was going to be fun.

La Panemena, event, bristol

That’s exactly what it was, a food celebration. Unlike going to a restaurant, this felt like an occasion; i love things like this and it gets me excited even when writing about them. The atmosphere on the Sunday was fantastic, everyone wanted to be there to celebrate tasting this new food, it was warm, cosy and vibrant. Just what i wanted on a freezing cold November day.

La Panemena, event, bristol, gluten free, sarah kreczmer, photography

Food was plentiful and communal. Handing round bowls and having conversations mostly about how to get the recipe off the chef, is exactly what you want from an event like this. No one should be discussing anything else but the food.

La Panemena, event, bristol, gluten free

Highlights for me were an amazing Tazita de Guacho (rice, beans and pork soup). Wholesome, peppery and packed full of flavour, i could have eaten a whole bowl.

La Panemena, event, bristol, gluten free, food, photography, sarah, kreczmer

Ceviche de Pescado Blanco and Patacones (fried green plantain), which made my husband want to go home and re-create this straight away; we already started planning on how we can work it into our weekly food list. Beautiful Sea Bream mixed with coriander and sweet fresh tomato, cured in a tangy, sharp marinade; fragrant, fresh and addictive, contrasted excellently with chopped cashew nuts to add another element of texture.

La Panemena, event, bristol, gluten free

My favourite dish however, was the Homemade Beef Tasajo in Tomato and Coconut Sauce with Arroz con Guandu (Rice and Peas from the Caribbean side). So tender and rich, with a bit of sweetness. Our table did a conclusive ‘oh my god this is good’ in our heads. We didn’t have time to say anything because eating this was more important.

La Panemena, event, bristol, gluten free

What i love about all of this food is that is doesn’t scare you to try to recreate it at home. It so packed full of comfort and love that it’s almost enticing you to make it your own and try some more. It also proves that using naturally gluten free ingredients can make some of the best food you have ever tasted.

La Panameña have set them up for a long subscription of event attendance from me, and i do hope other Bristolians or any out of towners venture to attend to one of the events (*whispers* i hear the next one is in January). You can start by liking the Facebook page.

Honeybunned life.

Gluten Free, Lemon Drizzle Cake, honeybuns

A lemon drizzle -ma nizzle. For rizzle.

It’s got to be Snoop Doggs favourite cake? Surely.

One of life’s fantabulous pleasures. I do love a good drizzle cake i do. PS: I couldn’t find my small loaf tin- so this is why my cake above looks like a slice. Forgive me.

It was the ultimate test really. After getting the Honeybuns Gluten Free Baking Cookbook (Pavillion) by Emma Goss-Custard  (how many people are jealous of that surname. I totally am); it’s the traditional recipes i love the most- so i headed for it pronto!

Honeybuns, Gluten Free, Baking Book, review

Faultless. I know that when my husband likes the cake then it is a winner. Rob doesn’t like sweet things that much, but he asked for seconds!

I just felt it necessary to mention this cookbook on my blog, as i know there are many bakers struggling with the experimental ways of gluten free, so i feel it’s a very good book for them to take note from. Plus there are pretty pictures to look at wonderfully produced by Cristian Barnett. It’s one of those cookbooks you can read page by page and never tire, a bit like Nigella’s How to be a Domestic goddess book, and that is high praise.

Honeybuns, Gluten Free, Baking Book, review, cakes

The cookbook features different sections, beginning with a mini guide to gluten free baking- which is helpful if your first thought of ‘sorghum flour’ is that it must be produced in space. Lots of details on how to experiment/alter recipes with different flours, which i love dearly, as this book WILL make you go out to buy a mass of different flours; sometimes you might not have an ingredient in the house.

Honeybuns, Gluten Free, Baking Book, review, healthcliff, wuthering heights

Of course i can’t leave this write up without mentioning one of my favoured recipes from the book: Heathcliff Brownies. “Like the romantic hero of ‘Wuthering Heights’, these brownies are dark and brooding!’

Perfect.
This book was given to me to review but by no means did it effect my decision of it. It was in my amazon basket before the review opportunity...

The cat that got the buttercream

cake, coconut, kitten, bengal, licking, cat, flower, jasmine, tea, butter, cream, frosting, gluten, free

Although I hate to go on about my adorable kitten all the time, I was always taught to write about insights into your life in blog posts; so here I am doing just that. My relatives have been saying ‘You got Ash so your blog would get hits!’ so not true, but hey it hasn’t not helped ;p

I may have mentioned this on Twitter but as you know, I have a slight (okay huuugge) obsession for Tea. Any kind, Matcha, Fruit, English Breakfast… I could go on but I’ve found out that Ash’s favourite is Peppermint. I think, thrice now I’ve made a Peppermint tea and found it half gone after popping to the loo. How peculiar indeed!

And again, he was there eating my Jasmine Tea buttercream off my freshly, pretty baked cake. I’m sure the butter had something to do with it.

kitten, bengal, cat, got, the, cream, butter, buttercream, frosting, cake, coconut, gluten, free, tea

Brought some coconut last week and hadn’t found time to use it and I mostly got inspiration from these Chinese, fresh cream swirl cakes that I used to buy at the Chinese supermarket when I could tolerate gluten; I really wanted one today.

I love tea, there I said it again. I love the variety I suppose, and even better now I’ve decided to write a load of recipes experimenting with different kinds of infusions. It really gives the cake a very slight fragrant taste, not as powerful as adding say lavender of which I dislike. I prefer all the flavours to blend together and then you just get this last hint of jasmine. Of course, do experiment yourself with the amount of tea you put in.

It really is about how you like your tea.

cake, coconut, light, moist, almond, flour, gluten, free, flower, tea, jasmine, cooking, baking, layer, cake, birthday cake, delicious, easy, cheap

Flower of the mountain Jasmine tea and coconut cake

 Cake Ingredients

200g soft unsalted butter, plus a bit extra for greasing pans

200g caster sugar

2 tablespoons of strong strained Jasmine tea

1 teaspoon of dried Jasmine tea crushed in a pestle and mortar

4 medium eggs

100g self-raising gluten free flour, plus extra for dusting

50g of dried coconut

50g almond flour

½ teaspoon of xanthan gum

Frosting Ingredients

200g icing sugar, sifted

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Tablespoon of dried Jasmine tea crushed in a pestle and mortar

Dried Coconut for topping (that’s been steeped in water for 10 mins, then strained)

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.

Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins. Place the butter, sugar and crushed,strained tea into a bowl and beat well to a creamy consistency.

Beat in the eggs gently then fold in the flour and coconut. Mix until all combined.

Divide the mix evenly between the cake tins, place into the oven and bake for about 20 mins until just turning brown.

Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool on a wire rack after taking them out of their tins.

Make your frosting. Add 50g of butter to 200g of icing sugar and the tablespoon of finely crushed Jasmine tea, mix until well combined and of a good icing consistency.

When your cake layers are cool enough for icing, put a 1/3 of the icing in the center for the filling and spread evenly, coat with a light layer of coconut.

Pop your other layer on top and ice once again, dusting with coconut and any other decorations you wish to put on! Flowers are nice :p

Serve with a cup of Jasmine, just after it’s rained and the sun comes through. Or indeed, to your cat.

cat, licking, cake, slice, coconut, gluten, free, recipe, jasmine, tea, infused, cream, butter

 

Cooking with a little thing i call ‘Magic’.

oriental, chinese, japanese, soup, noodle, spring onions, garlic, ginger, oyster, fish, sauce, dinner, lunch, rice

I wish I was a magician. Or a witch. Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Harry Potter and because I have a kitten now, feel it impossible to not pretend I’m going to Hogwarts with my own Crookshanks in this icy weather.

The country has gone mad it seems, for fairy tales and magic. BBC has their Magicians programme, ITV with their Penn and Teller- Fool Us, and the two new films that show very different versions of Snow White coming out soon (Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror). Maybe I have been watching too much HP but I’m thinking the world’s gone mad crazy wanting to be magic. Like me. Insert smiley childish face.

These television programmes and films show that it’s not just a particular audience that magic inspires, it truly is because ‘magic’ appeals to everyone. Everyone loves a good secret or in terms of cooking, ‘concoction’. When I was young I remember being amazed that my mum could produce all these types of foods and ingredients, and you can’t help thinking we’ve kind of developed a ‘witch nature’ with all our casserole dishes and the means to keep all our different aromatics in our pantries. Like most magicians and practicing witch’s, I like to experiment in the kitchen, and although things don’t usually seem like they would work from the outset sometimes, you have to always stick to the game plan and hope for a miracle, or indeed ‘wait for the magic to happen’.

So there I was, armed with nothing in my bank and hardly anything in the fridge either; apart from the staples and an abundance of oriental sauces, (We got them a few weeks ago in our ‘we WILL make Chinese from stratch phase’) So I got out my cauldron- sorry SAUCEPAN. Yes- saucepan, and started making a oriental soup with some Italian pancetta.

Half way through I was beyond doubting this would come out well, but alas here I am with a recipe entitled with arguably the best magician in all the land- Houdini.

It works, firstly because I made it work but secondly because actually the aromatics that infuse pancetta such as fennel, peppercorns and nutmeg really do already exist in oriental cooking. So, go figure.

Magic in reality (and in food) really is a good bit of lovely faith and sometimes-good coincidence eh?

So if you’re feeling frugal and in good faith, why not be Houdini for a day?

oriental, soup, noodle, spring, onions, pancetta, garlic, ginger, soy, sauce, fish, sauce, rice, noodles, soups,

Houdini’s Kind o’ Oriental Soup

Groundnut or flavourless Oil

1 or 2 spring onions

100g of cubed pancetta or any form of Lardons

2 Cloves of chopped garlic

A diced small cube of ginger

100g of Green Beans chopped (or darling, whatever greens you have in your cupboard!)

1 vegetable stock cube (To make 1 ½ litres of stock)

2 tablespoons of Japanese gluten free soy sauce (I actually use Clearspring’s Tamari soya sauce)

2 Tablespoons of Fish sauce

1 dollop of Gluten free Oyster sauce.

1 packet of fine Rice Vermicelli noodles (or which ever you fancy!)

Black pepper

Squeeze of lemon or Lime

Directions:

Before you start cooking on the heat, make sure you get all your ingredients out ready and prepared- it’s so much easier when making oriental food. So chop up your ginger, pancetta, garlic, and greens. Get your sauces and stock cube at the ready.

Put a glug of olive oil in a deep pan on a low – medium heat. Add in your pancetta, ginger and garlic until it all sizzles wonderfully.

Prepare your stock with boiling water in a jug, add in the fish sauce, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Give it a good stir.

Pop your stock in the deep pan with the pancetta, ginger and garlic, followed by the greens.

Season with a bit of black pepper and lemon/lime

Let all the ingredients come together for a good 20 minutes on the hob, stirring and tasting occasionally.

Add in your packet of Vermicelli noodles and leave to cook for 5 minutes.

Season, once more to your taste.

Serve your noodle soup in a big bowl and eat in cold weather for true magical comfort.

noodle, soup, noodles, rice, ginger, garlic, fish, sauce, oriental, chinese, japanese, fusion, italian, pancetta, soups

All of the day and all of the night… pie.

manuka, honey, meringue, pie, dessert, lemon, hot, cold, sugar, yummy, classic, rustic, tart

Food writers have always featured in their writings about the memories food brings throughout our lives and I really couldn’t agree more. It’s pure bliss to be able to think about recipes that my mother used to make (unfortunately she passed a few years ago). Remembering the exact moment I tasted it for the first time and the moment all those happy siblings around the table suddenly turn to ultimate combat when you’re all fighting over the last piece of cake, pie, tart, cookie…endless delights.

Of course this recipe has been done through and through, and of course, being my creative and adventurous self, I wanted to adapt the recipe or at least make it a bit different. So I spent most of the day and most of the night toying with meringue.

However there is a reason that these recipes just don’t change at all. There is not much change in recipe methods or styles of lemon meringue pie, and the occasional lemon and lime version always crops up but in my opinion it just never really hits the mark. Classic is best but today I felt like adding some Manuka honey- I’ve had a lot of it lingering in the cupboard begging to be used (other than just on some toast). I was looking at Dan Lepard’s  chocolate and honey meringue recipe a couple of weeks ago and as you can imagine my mind suddenly clicked.

So, here we are. A rather rustic, traditional dessert with a tiny twist- one that doesn’t really break that classic taste all too much…

Still there’s still the debate whether it’s better hot or cold. I like it warm personally, with cream. What about you?

lemon, meringue, pie, slice, lemony, tart, dessert, rustic, classic, traditional, manuka, honey

A rather (Warm and Soothing) Lemon and manuka honey meringue pie

[Substitution notes: I find that the all purpose Doves Farm brand of gluten free flour works particularly well for this recipe- i also added half a teaspoon more of Xanthan gum but this isn’t really necessary if the purpose blend has it in already. ]

200g Gluten Free Plain White Flour

100g Cold Butter

5 tbsps Cold water

Pinch of salt.

Zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons

175g caster sugar (110g for the filling and 75 for the meringue)

5 tbsp cornflour

3 medium Eggs separated.

2 teaspoons of 6+ Manuka honey

Put your oven on to 190 degrees C.

Pastry

Make the pastry case by mixing the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add in cold butter in small pieces and mix together with your hands or a mixer until it crumbles. Then add the cold water bit-by-bit till doughy. The mixture can be a bit sticky but after 30 minutes in the fridge it should be more pliable.

Roll out your pastry and pop into a pie dish leaving a good amount of crust edge. Prick the base over with a fork and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes (You can now make the filling while it’s in the oven for convenience) until it just turns golden and take out to rest.

Lower the oven temperature to 160 degrees for later.

 

Filling

Separate your eggs into whites and yolks and put aside. (I did do an extra yolk and egg white so I could brush it over my pastry cases and use my left over pastry for an extra tartlet)

Place the lemon zest and juice, 100g of the sugar and 300ml cold water in a pan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Mix the cornflour with 6 tablespoons of cold water, then stir this into the lemon mixture and mix very well! Increase the heat, bring to the boil and cook for about 1 minute, stirring continuously, until smooth and thickened.

Allow to cool slightly then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Pour the very warm filling into the cooked pastry case and level the surface.

In a large bowl or mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gradually whisk in the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until thick. Fold in 1 teapoon of the honey very gently- (its very thick honey!). Spoon the meringue over the filling and spread out evenly in the center. If you make patterns in the meringue it will make it look pretty! Drizzle the rest of the manuka honey over the peaks.

Bake for 40 minutes and serve warm or cold :) Classic.

lemon, meringue, pie, tart, night, lemony, dessert, manuka, honey, yummy, kitchenaid, red,

 

Mackruelty

mackerel, tarragon, bean, soup, stew, fish, pepper, dinner, lunch, ideas

I dislike all this negativity towards Mackerel. For want of an excuse for a headline pun I think it’s perfectly fitting to be honest. There are two sides to this story, firstly is from a good quantity of people who just shun it aside without the thought to taste it and secondly is just the cruelty from a cat’s perspective when a human eats it without sharing. The latter story happened today at lunch. Poor Ash, but a girl’s gotta eat too!

As a graduate, money is inevitably an everyday woe in the back of my mind, particularly when it comes to what food to spend my money on. Smoked, cooked and prepared Mackerel is £2.30 for around 6-7 strips at my local supermarket and if I’m strapped for cash it is most certainly my best friend. As it’s already prepared and cooked all you have to do is take off the skin on the back of the strips, shred the fish meat in pieces and add to pretty much any staple for a good meal. Aside this recipe, I absolutely love cooked rice, vegetables and mackerel all fried up in some lemony olive oil and butter for a quick meal.

Anyway, enough campaigning.

Today my fiancé and I got our first wedding present (rather early- as the weddings in May) my new Kitchenaid mixer! :)

Kitchenaid, mixer, empire, red, kitten, cat, food

I didn’t have enough sugary ingredients to test it to its best ability, so I opted for this hearty tarragon, bean and mackerel soup for lunch instead. Feel free to substitute the veggies for what ever is left in your cupboard! Perfect, quick cooking.

No more mackruelty hey? Well at least, just try it.

Mackerel, tarragon, cannelini, bean, stew, soup, vegetable, fish

Tarragon, bean and mackerel soup.

Ingredients:

Olive oil

Chunk of butter

4 Spring onions chopped

1 Courgette chopped (or any other vegetables, carrot, mushrooms work well)

2 Bay Leaves

1 Vegetable stock cube

Tin of Cannelini beans

4-6 Strips of cooked smoked mackerel cut up into chunks

Black Pepper

Dried or fresh tarragon, a few tablespoons or sprigs.

Squeeze of lemon juice

Directions

Put the bay leafs, vegetable stock/cube and tarragon into a measuring jug and fill with ½ a litre of boiling water and leave to stew.

Put the chunk of olive oil and butter into a deep pan on a medium heat.

Add your chopped spring onions to the pan with the clove of garlic until the juices all start to marinade and fry.

Pop in the chopped courgettes or any other vegetables you want to put in.

Add in the tin of cannelini beans and grind over lots of black pepper!

Pour the ¼ litre of stock mixture with the aromatics into the pan of veggies.

Bring to the boil for 5 minutes and then take down to a medium heat for 20 minutes.

Squeeze in the lemon juice and give it a stir.

Add in the cut up mackerel chunks and leave to stew for a minute to release the flavour.

Mackerel, fish, soup, stew, tarragon, bean, cannelini, vegetable

Serve with lots of crusty gluten free bread. Yum.

<3 xxxSxxx <3

Brownie stands for comfort.

I’ve been feeling a bit down lately. Don’t worry it won’t be one of those blog posts, I promise.

My IBS has been giving me a lot of stomach trouble, terrible pains and the worse digestion skills in the world. This is all alongside a lot of stress and worries of finding a job, and fast before I consider myself worthless to the world. Naturally stress and worry makes all forms of IBS worse; it just comes hand in hand.

I sat down today rethinking my whole mental strategy and how I could make this week go any better and although I can only eat them in moderation, I can always feel reassured from a brownie.

Brownie,peppermint, chocolate,chunks,chip,dark,rich,intense,ibs,gluten,free

There are several reasons why making brownies is good for you.

Lots of mixing involved. I won’t get all scientific on ya’ but all the energy released is good for the ole stress. Plus any aggressions you have at the world you can determine on the strength needed for what your mixing; for example mine tends to go in a rather, Simon Cowell, Unemployment, David Cameron, kind of way. THUS, If I’m mixing together the butter and sugar by hand this is the perfect opportunity to pretend it’s a politician’s brain.

They are adaptable in every kind of way.

From the ingredients you add into them and to the frosting or flavours you put in them. For me this is where my creative energies are released and if the recipe succeeds, even better.

 For this brownie recipe I chose to use Macadamia’s, and a peppermint frosting. I just find that when you bite into a macadamia it’s got such a smooth texture, which isn’t at all grainy like a walnut or pecan. The peppermint was a decision I chose to somewhat aid my stomach, as I normally drink peppermint tea after meals which often settles my pains I thought that somehow psychologically it would work in this way too.

For me, one is a good amount.

To satisfy, a good brownie should be very dense and very sugary. One is perfect with a cuppa, firstly for my IBS and secondly for my weight.

So yes, brownies do stand for comfort. You must always abide by this rule however…

Never eliminate chocolate

brownie,brownies, dark,chocolate,gluten,free,macadamia,nuts,peppermint,ibs,dessert,cake

Dark chocolate and macadamia nut brownies with a peppermint frost.

[Substitution and additional notes: One word of warning, the larger you chop your macadamia nuts the more likely the brownie mixture will break (I found out the hard way, but managed to salvage a good few squares), so although in my pictures they are quite large-give them a chop once more. Flour I would substitute the almond for more all purpose gluten free blend, as it’s a dark chocolate recipe flours such as millet are slightly worthless really as you can’t taste it’s flavour; but by all means if you have nothing else!]

Ingredients

            100g unsalted butter

            150g coarsely chopped good-quality dark chocolate

            40g  unsweetened cocoa powder

            45g  gluten free all-purpose flour

         45g of almond flour

            1/4 teaspoon baking powder

½ a teaspoon of Xanthan gum

100g of finely chopped macadamia nuts (use 20g for the topping)

            1 teaspoon salt

            100g dark brown muscuvado sugar

            2 large eggs

            2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting

Cream cheese 100g

40g of soft butter

1tsp of peppermint extract

300g icing sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Butter a loaf tin thoroughly and set aside.

Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until butter and chocolate are melted. Let cool slightly.

Mix together flour,, xantham gum, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; set aside.

Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl and mix.

Add in the chocolate mixture, beat until combined.

Add flour mixture; beat, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated.

Add nuts.

Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for about 25 minutes but check at 20mins with a toothpick.

Leave it to cool and prepare the frosting!

Peppermint Frosting

Beat the icing sugar and , peppermint essence and butter together until the mixture comes together. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat quickly. Don’t overmix otherwise it will become wet.

Serve whenever you need to feel better again.

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?