Gluten Free Sour Cherry and Poppy Seed Tea Cake with Orange Blossom icing

Sour, Cherry,  Poppy seed, cake with orange blossom frosting

Happy New year to you all ! Of course by Happy new year i mean, Happy new cake. For me, diets do not exist in January, to aid the ‘back to work’ routine i feel comfort foods could be in full flow. February, if anything is when you should gradually start to ease in a diet. Pfft. Diets.

I believe in eating healthily of course, and i have planned to wean myself off sugar, caffeine, yeast and alcohol for a good few weeks (in Feb) to get back on track along with starting to take up tennis again. For now i will be content with a slice of cake and a cup of tea whilst i plunge into the work 7am routine, thank you very much.

Welcome back to Wuthering Bites 2013! I had a little interview with Crumbs Magazine and it goes through some of the ways i’ll approach things this year, as well as other things you may well like to know about me. I have a feeling this year may be a busy one! :)

I’d been approached before Christmas to write and test a recipe for a new Bristol Harbourside bistro, Cherry Duck. And as they are pro gluten free ( see their gluten free pancake willingness in the brunch menu for one example), i was well up for the challenge.

Sour Cherry and Poppy seed cake with orange blossom frosting

I’d been doodling a kind of poppy seed cake, since i had never made one before yet absolutely love the combination of Lemon and Poppy seed. Also, poppy seeds look pretty scattered about in a cake, unless you’re one of those relatives that does a bad joke about ants in a cake or something. Eww.Those of you who know me, will know that i am quite partial to sour cherries. They are truly my favourite thing to bake with aside chocolate, so i will go to any attempt to put them into a pudding or dessert when i have visitors; mainly brownies. And to want to think of a better excuse of using cherries in a cake for a bistro named Cherry Duck…it really was a no brainer!

This is my favourite type of cake, as i have said in previous blog posts,  simple, fragrant and traditional sticky icing is my weakness.

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( Gluten Free ) Sour Cherry and Poppy Seed Tea Cake with Orange Blossom icing.

200g Unsalted Butter

200g Caster Sugar

3 Eggs

100g Dried Sour Cherries chopped or whole

30g Poppy Seeds

100g Ground Almonds

60g Gluten Free Plain Flour

1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder

½ Teaspoon of xanthan gum

Icing

1 Tablespoon of Orange Blossom Water

1 Tablespoon of Freshly Squeezed Orange juice

1 Tablespoon of hot water

200g Icing Sugar

Zest of Orange (for decoration)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees and line a 22cm loose bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Put the butter and sugar into a stand mixer and beat until combined, add in the 3 eggs, one egg at a time until fully beated together.

Mix in the Ground Almonds by hand.

Fold in carefully the baking powder, gum and gluten free plain flour.

Fold in the poppy seeds and sour cherries and make sure they are evenly distributed.

Dollop the mixture into the cake tin and flatten out with a spatula.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 mins. Then put a layer of tin foil on top and cook for a further 10-15 mins until cooked.

Take the cake out and leave to completely cool until icing.

For the icing, combine all the ingredients aside the orange zest into a bowl and mix well- test to see if your orange blossom is strong enough, if not add a teaspoon more, along with another teaspoon of icing sugar.

Ice roughly all over and decorate with cherries and orange zest!

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:) Happy new cake

Once a week, meat.

Dunno about you, but i think meat is rather expensive.

Rob and i went food shopping a fortnight ago and boy did we get a shock at the till. A lot of our money had got on chicken pieces and fish. We’re big fans of meat and we kind of did this depressing walk home..realising that meat may have to be cut down a bit on our shopping lists.

We have other responsibilities now, Ash is getting bigger by the day and eating WAY more food.

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So we just figured that we’d start to have a really good nice bit of free range, locally sourced meat, once a week.

I’d been working on a chicken marinade for a while, as my IBS seems to have calmed down a bit and allowed me to eat mild spices. Rob’s been very patient in putting up with my Houdini ways in the kitchen, but i’d finally raided the spice rack enough. ‘I think you’ve got it!’ he said, announcing it like i just found a cure for tinnitus or something.

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I love grinding things in a mortar and pestle.

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Putting in and mixing all the ingredients like a fricken Polyjuice potion, just makes me smile witch-ingly everytime.

This marinade is very simple, mild but full of flavour. One of those recipes that uses kitchen staples to their absolute best, and amazing for a midweek dinner, providing you prepare the chicken in advance.

Serve with a crispy salad or with a fragrant saffron basmati rice.

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Spice is Nice Chicken

Serves 2

4 Meaty Chicken Thighs

3 Garlic Cloves (cut up finely)

1tsp Chili Flakes

3tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tbsp Cumin Seeds

2tsps Ground Cinnamon

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 White Onion

Salt and Pepper

6 Tablespoons of good quality Natural Yoghurt (and a bit more to dot on top)

Wash your chicken thighs under a cold tap and pat down with some kitchen paper. Put in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Pop your chopped garlic, chili flakes, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, cinnamon into a mortar and pestle. Grind until well combined. Gradually add bit by bit, the juice of 1 lemon until you have a nice vibrant mixture of lemony spice.

Cut up your white onion into big chunks and pop in the bowl with your chicken. Season your chicken with salt and pepper.

Add the Natural Yoghurt to the chicken.

Scrape in your spices onto the chicken.

Mix everything together with your hands well until everything is submerged in a lovely spicy sauce.

Put in the fridge for 4-6 hours.

Heat the oven onto 180 degrees and cook for 30-45 mins, dependent on the size of your chicken. Keep an eye on it as ovens vary, as it can get crispy quite fast.

Serve with rice or salad, with a huge dollop of yoghurt on top for good measure.

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Olympic Fever

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So it seems after all the rain moaning in my salsa cat post, the weather has taken a thankful turn for a while; my blog, ladles and jellyspoons, has much power! Even though this country is not accustomed to the ole air conditioning side of things, there is no way I am going to complain about the heat. It really is glorious. I just need to buy a paddling pool for temporary usage.

Now. The Olympics has started. Don’t worry I’m not one of those super patriotic sports fans so I won’t go on for ages about how it’s amazing it’s in our country and everything. One thing I will say though is, that I’m glad it’s become another excuse to get us Brits happy in one way or another. My idea of happiness, as you can imagine, is food. To top that would be to also meet with a select few of my best friends and to share food and be merry. Nothing in the world can be better than that for me, unless you transport us all to a lovely beach in the Maldives. With the food.

So I’d rather use the Olympics as an excuse to eat more. Go figure. Here’s two ideas;

An example of an Olympics = food+ happiness event is at the Townhouse Bar and Kitchen in Bristol. (They are very gluten free friendly!) Their food is also tremendous; I shall review for you next month.

They’re launching an Olympics promotion on Tuesday the 31st July (they’re closed for painting on Monday 30th) which will run across lunch only, for the duration of the games.

It kicks off at midday every week day:

First 10 people in get gold – 3 courses for £3
Next 10 in get silver – 3 courses for £5
Next 10 in get bronze – 3 courses for £8

It is only on the set lunch menu only (usually 3 courses for £10) and no reservations can be taken but maybe the thought of ‘racing to get food’ instead of watching people race sounds a bit more like your kinda thing?

 Perhaps you’d also like to bake a gluten free cake? Insert my solution.

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It’s not in anyway Olympic themed, but I feel it’s a recipe that can be made quite easily to make for a group of friends and in this troubling heat. A perfect afternoon tea cake to enjoy with an iced tea in the garden or an alcoholic beverage if you’d prefer. ;)

White chocolate and rosemary is simply a delicious combination, and if you’ve ever enjoyed a rosemary cake before- this is a real treat. I’ve used yoghurt instead of milk to provide a bit of a sour note- there is a lot of sweetness from the white chocolate and sugar so if you’d rather balance it a bit I’d recommend using the yoghurt; it also gives it a dense, almost doughy texture which is nice to break apart and dip into the icing sugar.

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White Chocolate and Rosemary Maderia Loaf

225g butter, softened

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

175g Gluten Free Plain Flour

25g Ground Almonds

2tsp of Xanthan Gum

2 tsp baking powder

50ml Plain Yoghurt or 50ml of Milk

80g White chocolate chopped

1 Tablespoon of chopped Rosemary.

Icing Sugar to dust (Optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Butter the sides of a loaf tin and grease well with butter.

Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft then add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light.

Gradually add the eggs and beating all the time.

Sift in the flour, almond flour, Xanthan gum, Baking powder, Yoghurt and fold in  slowly with a spatula.

Fold in the chopped White Chocolate and Rosemary.

Place the mixture into the loaf tin

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes – 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Keep an eye on it!

Turn the cake out and leave to cool.

Dust with icing sugar.

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So don’t hate the Olympics, embrace the food opportunities and excuses to indulge. Much better ;)

Salsa Cat

Yesterday was the turning point. I’m sick of the rain. Now, don’t get me wrong, i love every excuse to sit in my cosy flat with my Minnie Mouse pyjamas on, wrapped in a blanket whilst watching re-runs of American sitcoms; but it’s got to the point where i am never leaving my house due to an addiction to sugar. Preferably in the cake form.

Rob came home from work and we both looked at each other and just moaned about how we wish we could escape right now on our holiday to Spain; we have 5 weeks to go and the waiting mood is not looking good. We’d planned to just do another carb to go with our fishcakes, or creamed spinach with cumin. God i love that. Rob paused and thought. Salsa.

I didn’t feel like dancing. Rob had to instantly correct me and ensure me that it was the edible kind. Why does my mind always go to dancing or maracas?

So last night we finely chopped up and mixed the following, but feel free to go crazy. (I made more the following day and just used what we had left in the fridge)

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 I present to you our Bright-eyed Salsa.

This will last you a good 3 main meals as a side, or 3 lunches for 1 person.

1 Green Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
1 Orange Pepper
1 Carrot
5 Spring Onions
1/2 a Cucumber
1 Red Chilli (without the seeds)
3 Tomatoes or a medium punnet of baby plum tomatoes
Garlic Oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Teaspoon of Red wine Vinegar
Black Pepper

For days when you need a boost to become a bit more sprightly,  just like our Ashy :)

Counterbalance salad

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Feeling guilty lately?

I certainly am.

Not because i haven’t unpacked the last boxes of our big move to our new flat (Pics to come), but the enormous amount of indulgence in sugar that i have consumed with the stress of it all …

Not just for convenience sake either. I’ve been really craving. For anyone who has been following me lately on my Twitter @wbites i have been noting my bad habits and today i noticed it had gotten too far.

“It’s bad to eat M&M’s for breakfast. but they do have peanuts in. and people have peanut butter/Nutella on toast. I’m really trying here…”

Oh dear.

So i am stood in my bedroom unpacking remaining boxes, nibbling M&M’s (other sweets are available), and whilst trying to work out the Feng Shui of it all…there was the guilt. Hit me all at once. If i can Feng Shui my bedroom, i really should be doing it to my internal body. Then there was @KymGertLush tweeting about how good she felt after the gym this morning, good endorphins and what not, so i just had to put dowwwnn the M&M’ssss and GET OUT; like the glass in the F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode when Phoebe tries to get Monica over Richard.

Anyway.

So a counterbalance was in order. The brighter the food the better it is for you. Then i had thought. M&M’s were bright. This is where someone needed to slap me.

Salad.

Insalata.

The first is classical; Insalata Tricolore, my husband Rob’s absolute favourite. Although the mozzarella and avocado combo is not completely good for the waistline, use less and add salad greens like i did to make it a very nutritious lunch; full of potassium, B-vitamins and Folic Acid. This was Rob’s plate i made..avocado, fresh baby tomatoes, silky mini buffalo mozzarella, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. The best you can get.

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My favourite salad of late must be however, my

Fresh Spinach, Sweetcorn, Cucumber and Fried Halloumi with a Garlic, lemon and Tarragon dressing.

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For the dressing: put one garlic clove, the juice of half of a lemon and two strands of fresh Tarragon into a mortar and pestle and grind to a paste.

Pour 100ml of olive oil into the paste and leave to infuse.

Fry your Halloumi in thick slices in a flat skillet with no oil, until brown on either side whilst you prep the rest of your salad ingredients.

Mix a bunch of Spinach with chopped cucumber and freshly boiled – off the cob sweetcorn and drizzle over half the dressing. Mix well.

Place your Halloumi and pour over the remaining dressing.

Sharp, tangy and sweet, with excellent textures of crunch from the sweetcorn and cucumber with the chewy Halloumi and Spinach.

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Now for cake.

Only kidding….!

xxxSxxx

You may be thinking, i’m obsessed with raspberries.

Nigella, Lawson, Chocolate, Pavlova, Raspberry, best gluten free dessert, gluten free, dessert, afternoon tea, raspberries, strawberries, pavlova, dark chocolate, easy, simple, dinner party, made in advance, kitten, moving house,Firstly, yes. I do understand that i have avoided healthy recipes for a while but you must sympathise. I’ve just moved to a new home and when stress comes a calling, all you really want is sugar, in abundance. Also i realise the similarity of this recipe to the last post i’ve done- i’m not doing well really am i?

This recipe, although i hate to say it, isn’t mine. This is by the domestic goddess Nigella Lawson. I made it for my brother’s birthday dinner party for after some Moroccan Meatballs and just wanted to post it really as it truly was a magnificent gluten free dessert. So easy, so yum.

My Brother and my sister in law turned up to our new flat with their wonderful daughter Lara to celebrate with my husband Rob and i. There was wine, there was meatballs- what more could you want? But there is just nothing better than bringing out a dessert that just stuns people to a silence. Nigella, Lawson, Chocolate, Pavlova, Raspberry, best gluten free dessert, gluten free, dessert, afternoon tea, raspberries, strawberries, pavlova, dark chocolate, easy, simple, dinner party, made in advance, kitten, moving house,

Nigella, Lawson, Chocolate, Pavlova, Raspberry, best gluten free dessert, gluten free, dessert, afternoon tea, raspberries, strawberries, pavlova, dark chocolate, easy, simple, dinner party, made in advance, kitten, moving house,Ash turned abruptly (because of the cream undoubtedly), Lara stopped her high pitched squealing, and everyone smiled. Food at it’s best. I love these moments. How could i not capture it?

I wish i could have got a shot with the immense texture inside. The raspberries are lovely and sour which settles nicely with the dark chocolate meringue base- the bottom of the meringue forms a layer of deep chocolate which is created with the addition of chopped chocolate to the mixture before popping in the oven. It truly is like food porn.

I’ll leave you with the recipe… you’ll regret it if you don’t make it…

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From Paris with … Chocolat Chaud

I’m back. ‘Finally’ – I hear you cry. Oh you guys!! *blushes* and I’m married –double yay! So no longer do I have to spell out my surname ‘Kreczmer’ numerous times to people I can now simply go ‘Carter’ and pretend I’m an American news reporter. Badass.

We went to Paris for our honeymoon and I have to be brutally honest and say, although it was lovely- we did have a few issues and in retrospect we wished we just went for a lazy beach scenario. Our first hotel although it was good for a base hotel, didn’t quite have the romantic charm or attentive service that we needed for our honeymoon so we did a swift move to another which was better located in the 1st arrondissment and near to Pierre Herme’, the latter pretty much sealed the deal for me.

It was an expensive holiday, and the most affordable (and most enjoyable) for me was going to the supermarket. Yes. Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc d’Triomphe -forget it, the supermarkets is where it’s at. Particularly in the Galleries Lafayette Gourmet. It was foodie heaven. I could have spent hours trying all the delicious produce but alas we was on a tight schedule and I had a feeling the husband was getting nervous with the amount of money I was spending on chocolate. I seem to however go into this ‘money-no-object’ state when I’m in foreign supermarkets; I think it’s because you never really know what things cost unless you have an amazing ability to convert instantly.

My best purchase wasn’t found in the supermarket (although they also sold it there) but in one of the most famous tea rooms in Paris – Angelina. Their hot chocolate is arguably (but debated consistently on trip advisor) as one of the best in Paris. I bought a box then…naturally.

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My return home to England was depressing to say the least, we only had a 5 day honeymoon which went a bit fast (we hope to go somewhere longer next year) and I STILL didn’t think I bought enough food back with me. Disaster! On the upside though I’m now back to share with you this recipe, which I put together in my mind on the flight back. A bit weary of cooking cake with chocolat chaud but let me tell you…this did not disappoint.

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There’s something very child-like about messing around with hot chocolate in the kitchen, I remember mixing all kinds of cream/milk/caramel syrup concoctions when I was young. This went all through university as well. You just can’t grow out of that indulgent simplicity.

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This Hot chocolate maderia cake though is not recommended for children however, it involves Crème d’Abricot (Apricot Liqueur) and I did get drunk in the process of testing. You can use any Liqueur really but I found this one a bit different and it also gives it an almondy taste that is lovely with sweet chocolate.

Either put the icing on top or use it as a side cream- this cake is particularly nice when heated up! Either way Ash loved it.

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Hot Chocolate Maderia Cake with Creme d’Abricot Mascapone Icing

225g butter, softened

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

175g gluten free plain flour

25g Ground Almonds

2tsp of Xanthym Gum

2 tsp baking powder

50ml milk

100g hot chocolate powder (at least 50% cocoa)

2 Tablespoons of Apricot Liqueur (and a drizzle extra)

Mascapone  100g

Cream Cheese  200g

2 tablespoons of icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Butter the sides of a loaf tin and grease well with butter.

Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft then add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light.

Gradually add the eggs and vanilla extract to the butter mixture, beating all the time.

Sift in the flour, almond flour, Xyanthm gum, Baking powder, milk and mix slowly.

Fold in the sifted cocoa powder.

Place the mixture into the loaf tin

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes – 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Turn the cake out and leave to cool.

(Optional) Once cool, use a pastry brush and brush the top with liqueur evenly.

Top cake with icing :)

Icing:

Mix the Mascapone with the Cream Cheese and beat together.

Add the icing sugar.

Add the liqueur bit by bit till its to your taste.

Next blog post I’ll do something healthy :P Promise.

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Macarons can save your life: FACT.

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I’m not particularly sure when Britain got obsessed with Macarons but I’ve certainly noticed a lot of them about recently. A few years ago the only types of Macaroons I was accustomed to were the coconut English kind that my mum used to get from the bakery, sometimes they were dipped in chocolate and almost always were pressed onto edible rice paper on one side. Soon into gluten free life, these traditional coconut macaroons were presented as the sweet snack alternative that you could pick up at a café.

This blog post however will focus on the up rise of the other French variety: the ‘Macaron’.

Originally born in Italy, Macaron’s developed from a small sweet cookies which mostly consisted of almond powder, sugar and egg whites. They were ‘introduced by the Chef of Catherine de Medicis in 1533 at the time of her marriage to the Duc d’Orleans who became king of France as Henry II’ –(History of Macarons) hence their residence in France now.

The legend has it that apparently the granddaughter of Catherine was saved from starvation by eating these sugary treats. So yeah. Pretty remarkable discs of joy really!

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Like the English ‘macaroon’ , French macarons are also mostly gluten free. That’s if the chef hasn’t done some crazy wheat based filling. (Hate when that happens), or like the Macarons in M&S they’ve added wheat and barley. Hmm.

Keep it simple. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as they say. And although I’d love to have come up with my own magical recipe for macarons I just didn’t think it necessary. These delights are best made the same traditional way. There are different methods and ingredients added by other chefs such as sugar syrup, but as an amateur chef who has a mad kitten running about the place, I simply don’t have the right environment to play around with hot molten sugar and fast-paced washing up.

But really. You don’t have to believe me. They are easy to make. You just have to get everything ready to go before you start.

As I’m experimenting making these for the wedding I’ll add different fillings/recipes to this post when I can. If you don’t like the ‘curd’ texture, just try adding lemon zest and juice to a traditional buttercream.

Voila.

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The Macaron I love, French Macarons

Makes around 15 macarons.

 Adapted from a recipe in the The Skinny French Kitchen by Harry Eastwood

Macaroon shell ingredients

200g Icing sugar
100g Ground almonds
3 Medium egg whites
Pinch of salt
40g Fine Caster Sugar
Food colouring (paste is best)

Lemon Curd filling ingredients

Juice of 2 lemons
2 tbsp cornflour
40g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
5g butter

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. and line a baking tray/s with very good quality non stick sheets. Mix together thoroughly the icing sugar and almonds in a bowl and give them a good sifting through- this will make sure you don’t get a bumpy lumpy macaron.

2. With an electric whisk or stand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the salt, until you get stiff peaks- you should be able to hold the bowl over your head without it falling on you!

3. Add in the caster sugar and whisk again until stiff and glossy white.

4. Add in the food colouring and whisk again. Make sure you add more than necessary – I found 4 -5 drops best – it may look nearly orange but the oven will pale the mixture quickly.

3. With a spatula, fold in the ground almond and icing sugar mixture gently into the egg whites, until the texture is uniform. Just be gentle and patient you don’t want to beat out any of the air you just whisked into it.

4. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium nozzle. If you don’t have a piping bag I don’t see any harm in using a spoon to plop on circular dollops!

5. Carefully pipe circles of mixture on to the baking sheet. Aim for little circles of around 3cm wide, leaving the same amount of space in between each. Tap the pan on the counter top (lift the pan up and let it fall from a little height) once you’ve piped all the discs on to ensure the air bubbles stay in.

6. Set aside for 30 minutes to dry out. When they are ready you should be able to touch the circles without leaving a fingerprint.

7. Cook for 12 minutes in the middle of the oven and leave to cool.

8. Meanwhile, make the filling. Pour the lemon juice in a steady stream over the cornflour, using a teaspoon to incorporate it as you go. When there are no cornflour lumps left, pour this mixture into a small saucepan along with the caster sugar and lemon zest. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, stirring constantly until thickened.

8. Remove from the heat instantly and whisk in the butter. Pour the filling on to a plate and leave to cool.

9. When all is cool, sandwich together two macaroon shells with one teaspoon (or more :P) of the filling. To remove discs off the pan easily you can add a tiny drop of hot water to the corner of the baking sheet to create some steam – which should ease them off.

Eat two, or four, or 15 with tea.

The cat that got the buttercream

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Let’s get ready to crummbbble.

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Apples and Sultanas

Sometimes you just don’t have a good cooking week. Mine happened this week. I got all the ingredients prepared for a lovely lentil pasty recipe which I was going to write up for a mid week blog after testing and I was sure that it would turn out perfectly. I made the mistake of putting too much quinoa flour into my pastry dough and it turned out to not come together as I’d hoped, more of a crumbly mess. So there I was, about to fold dough around my wonderful pasty filling I’d prepared earlier and it just collapsed and to quote Eddie Izzard ‘Like a flan in a cupboard’.
Ash looked at me demanding attention (an hours prep time is just too long to last without cuddles) so I sat down, made a cup of tea and felt perplexed at my failed attempt. As with most things, kittens can usually make you feel better.

My fiancé Rob text me and asked me what I’d made for him that was yummy today, and my heart sank-; this is how much I care about my cooking. I was so determined to get something done before he got home (and for own self belief). I immediately put together a crumble, without a recipe at hand, but a note pad incase I came up with something interesting for the blog. I also managed to get some last minute jam tarts in the oven too ☺

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Sometimes you have to say to yourself, why make so much effort for something that tastes just as good as a crumble on a cold day?
Voila. Here is my –If everything else goes wrong, store cupboard Apple and Sultana crumble. Perhaps not an inspiring recipe but undeniably, a savior and essential to most of the British.

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Apple and sultana crumble

Crumble

50g of plain gluten free flour

40g of gluten free rolled oats

50g of unsalted butter (and a knob extra for topping)

Pinch of nutmeg

Filling:

400g of cooking apples, cored-peeled and quartered.

2 tablespoons of Manuka honey

2 tablespoons of water.

Couple of handfuls of sultanas

4 Cloves

Tablespoon of caster sugar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Chop up your cold butter into cubes and rub this into the flour, oats and nutmeg until it forms a crumble. (I must add, that i am terribly lazy and that I’ve found a better crumble is actually made in a mixer or food processor as the butter is distributed evenly; but hey I like to stick to traditional methods, when I haven’t had a disaster previous.)

Pop the prepared apples into a saucepan with the honey, water, cloves and sultanas. Leave to stew for around 15 minutes on a medium to high heat. If you wish this to be slightly sweeter, and more of a caramel, add a tablespoon of caster sugar now.

Place the stewed apples into a pie or appropriate dish and top evenly with the crumble mixture.

Put dots of butter over the top of the crumble mixture to produce a golden finish.

Cook for 30-40 minutes dependent on how golden you like it.

Serve with cream, and more cream.