I’ve had a yearning to make ginger biscuits for a while and today I finally kicked myself into action and did it. My little toddler helper was very pleased to be cooking as we’ve been reading all about Maisy making Gingerbread the past few days, so making Ginger biscuits was the same in her eyes 😉
40g muscovado sugar
50g rice flour
50g cornmeal/ fine polenta
2 tsp ground ginger
1tsp xanthum gum
2 tbsp milk
Mix all the dried ingredients together, then rub in the margarine until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the milk a little at a time and mix to a dough (you may not need it all).
Roll out and cut into whatever shapes you like……ours had to be teddy bears and were cut by my helper.
Cook at Gas Mark 3/160C for 15 minutes. Leave to cool on a rack and enjoy.
I’ve been meaning to try a polenta cake for AGES, finally today I got my chance. We were asked to take a dessert to our home group meeting, typically although I was given a weeks notice it was at lunchtime that I realised with a slight panic I had to knock something tasty up. Having been inspired by seeing this lemon polenta cake last night and on a high after completing the filming for my Pilates DVD, I stepped up to the challenge, here it is fresh from the oven.
You know what, it was easy, peasy, orange squeezy 😉
I’m well known for NEVER following a recipe, so here’s my adaptation, partially because I had no lemons and partially because I’m just like that. I found the red currants added a really nice zing, but you could use any berries, I just happened to have these growing in my garden (though these were last years harvest from the freezer).
75g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder (gluten free if needed)
75g polenta or cornmeal
1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark3/150C, grease and line a cake tin (I’m no good with sizes so I’ll just say I used a round one!).
2. Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time.
3. Add the ground almonds, baking powder and mix well.
4. Zest all 4 orange and juice 2 oranges, add to the mixture, add the polenta.
5. Spoon half the mix into the cake tin, then sprinkle on the red currants and top with the rest of the mixture.
6. Bake for 45 minutes until golden on the top and the house smells yummy 🙂
7. Add the juice of the final 2 oranges to a pan with the 50g sugar, boil gently for 5 minutes to make a syrup.
8. Use a skewer to make holes in the cake and pour the syrup on, it will soak in.
9. Allow to cook before removing the cake from the tin.
It’s had a good reception from my taste testers. Really moist and tangy and the redcurrants looked lovely. Though certainly a treat and not low fat, I’ll certainly be making this again.
Nutritional Analysis per portion (assuming 10 slices): 290kcals, 18.3 g fat, 29.2g carbs, 23.3g sugars.
So this recipe started off as a decision to try out this lovely looking recipe from MamaCook. I weighed out the flour and then opened the margarine tub to realise it was pretty much empty. Boo.
Skip forward a few hours and margarine is back in the house. By now I’m in creative mode and the biscuits took on a life of their own! I’m a bit of a stickler for encouraging my small one to eat her veggies, so finding a courgette to hand, I decided to grate it in and then add some cheese for added yum factor. I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting great things, but you know what, these have been a huge success, not only with the toddler girl but also with her Daddy!
Here’s how we did it:
100g plain flour
1/2 grated courgette
15 g grated cheese
Measure it all out and then add a dash of milk to mix to a dough. My little one likes baking with me, so she rolled out the dough:
My little helper then advised on which cutters to use and helped me cut it all out:
We baked them at Gas Mark 5 for 15 minutes, you may need less depending on how thin your dough has been rolled (or not rolled in our case!). Here is the final result.
I’m certainly not an experienced baker at all….yet I love giving things a go. Plus when you are wheat intolerant it can be cheaper to make things yourself rather than buy them. So in the back of my mind I had planned to try making some hot cross buns in the run up to Easter. Typically life ran away with itself, time fly by and on Easter Sunday there were still no hot cross buns.
However on Easter Monday I was tweeted a recipe to try….it being a rainy Bank Holiday I decided to take the plunge. These aren’t something to bake in a hurry but if you are around the house and have time to let them rise then give them a go! I had to adapt the recipe which I admit did make me quite nervous, however I was delighted with the results and a teeny bit proud of myself 😉
200g Rice flour
100g rye flour
50g tapioca starch
50g potato flour
(Alternatively 500g of a good GF flour mix)
1 tsp xanthum gum
2 tsp yeast
300ml warm milk
75g caster sugar
Mix all the above together to make a dough, but don’t knead it. Then place into an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place. This took about 1 1/2 hours for mine. It should almost double in size and it feels risen to the touch, springy and doughy.
Whilst it rises have a sit down, a cuppa, sweep the kitchen, do some catching up on twitter (you get the idea) and also mix together:
1 tsp olive oil
zest 1 orange
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 grated nutmeg
Mix this fruity bunch into the dough and leave it to rise once more. I left mine most of the afternoon. Leaving it longer than needed won’t harm it. Then shape into rounds, about 12, and get ready for the creative bit. Mix a couple of tbsp of gluten free flour with a drizzle of water and mix to a thick paste. Pop into a piping back and pipe on your crosses. Here’s mine before cooking:
Pop in the oven at Gas Mark 7 for 20 minutes. I checked mine and swapped the upper and middle trays over half way through. Leave to cool on a wire rack and enjoy. Yum.
With pancake day fast approaching I’ve been playing around with pancake recipes that are wheat free, gluten free and tasty. If like me you forget about pancakes the rest of the year, maybe this recipe will inspire you to make them a bit more often.
50g/2 oz Buckwheat Flour
50g/2 oz Rice or Tapioca Flour
Mix the flour, make a well and add the eggs, add the milk a little at a time, whisking until you get the right consistency (double cream).
I use a spray oil (rapeseed oil) and kitchen roll when cooking pancakes to ensure the pan stays lightly oiled but also that I’m not using too much oil.
These pancakes came out with a lovely light texture and cooked really easily, in fact I found them better than the wheat filled variety! Give them a go people, but be careful not to overindulge in those toppings.
Healthy Topping Ideas:
Chopped banana and 1 square of melted chocolate
Blueberries and 0% Greek yoghurt
Stewed apple, cinnamon and raisins (cook apples with a little sweetener, cloves, cinnamon and raisins)
Frozen berries cooked with a little water to make a sauce
Nut Butter warmed slightly with a sprinkle of flax seeds
Lemon and a drizzle of honey
Tinned peaches and quark or 0% Greek yoghurt
Low fat cream cheese with mushrooms/spinach/grapes
Flapjacks go down a storm in our house, I’m wheat free so they fill a much needed gap in my mouth. Now it seem little Kezia is a bit of a flapjack lover. In fact, as soon as she spies the tin I keep them in I get a pointy finger and a sign for “Food Now Mummy”. Cheeky monkey she certainly is.
My usual banana flapjacks use only a small amount of marg, sugar and honey, however with a hungry 1 year old and feeling inspired by a certain brand of raw food bars I decided to try something different. The results are not quite your usual flapjack (due to the distinct lack of sugar, syrup and butter!) but they make a great healthy snack for big and little people and are set to become a regular in our house already. In fact the little one even enjoyed helping me make it.
Well when I say she helped, I mean she ate half of the raisins out of the bowl, stuck her fingers in the banana, stirred the oats around and made holes in the mixture once it had been smoothed into the tray. So much fun!
These are wheat free and if you use gluten free oats they will be gluten free too. Here’s the finished product:
My healthier take on flapjacks are well known by my friends, I’ve almost always got a tub of them on the go. They got me through the long early days of breastfeeding and are now enjoyed by 1 year old too. In fact she absolutely loves them. So today, when she was struggling to sleep and I was unable to bake during her naptime I decided she may as well help me. This turned into a really fun learning experience for us both.
I weighed out the oats and sultanas and Kezia enjoyed playing with the dried ingredients, especially as she was able to sneak a few sultanas! She also liked watching me measure out the sugar, honey and margarine.
Then came the bananas, amazingly none of these went into Kezia’s mouth, she spent some time transferring the bananas from one bowl to another and watched as I mashed them. I left her a little in the bowl to play with being an interesting texture and tasty too 🙂
Stirring all the ingredients together was a lot of fun, although the spoon was probably a bit too large! It was a pleasure watching Kezia have a good go at mixing and seeing the look of satisfaction on her face.
I was allowed to place it all in the baking tray and of course Kezia then was left with the empty bowl and spoon, which she instantly started to scrape with her fingers….finding the leftovers showing it’s a natural reaction to lick the cake mixture off the spoon 😉
Finally we had time for more mixing practice at super fast speed!
What are your favourite recipes for cooking with children? Any tips to pass onto me?
Crumpets are a things of greatness, why should you miss out if gluten/wheat free? I love pottering in the kitchen, trying new things and I also love warm baked goods that are more savoury than sweet…being wheat free crumpets are the kind of foods I’ve missed. The shop bought versions just don’t hit the spot and are pretty expensive, so whilst pregnant and craving yummy things I perfected this recipe. It’s an adaptation of one in the Health Gluten-Free Eating cook book by Darina Allen and Rosemary Kearney, so credit should also go to them as all I’ve done is play around to make it suit me!
Crumpets may sound like a tricky thing to make and they probably are if you are making them to look like the shop bought versions. Mine look nothing like those but they taste very crumpet like and are just so satisfying to make. So if you like baking give them a go:
150g rice flour
75g tapioca flour or cornmeal
1 tsp xanthum gum
1/2 tsp bicarb
1 tsp cream of tartar
drizzle of rapeseed oil
300 ml milk
Mix the flours, xanthum gum, bicarb and cream of tartar together. Make a well and add oil plus eggs. Add the milk a little at a time and mix swiftly with a wooden spoon to start and then a whisk – a good arm building muscle exercise 🙂 Try to get air into the batter. If it still looks quite thick add a splash of water. If should be like cake mixture. Drop tablespoons onto a non stick pan or a flat griddle pan and cook until there are bubbles appearing. I find a lower heat is better and they take longer than a thick pancake would. Flip over and cook the other side.
These are best eaten warm, I find quite a few of these seem to disappear as soon as they are cooked….who knows where they go?! They also freeze really well and can be popped in the toaster to defrost and warm. Amazingly these turn out with a proper crumpet texture which you may be able to see in this photo (if you can’t then you will just have to believe me!).
Best served with a bit of jam and a good cuppa 🙂 Alternatively the baby had hers with melted cheese and some cooked mushrooms which went down very well. Go be inspired and try something new in the kitchen this weekend.
Freelance Dietitian specialising in helping those with Eating Disorders and a Media Spokesperson for the profession.