Cooking (quite badly) time; Butternut Squash Casserole

Cooking again. This time I danced to electro music whilst making a very easy butternut squash casserole. It was pretty chill. Now I am blasting Kanye whilst writing this, which is also pretty chill. I think I’m just chill. Maybe it is the detox pukka tea. Probably.

Back to food? I think that might be a good idea.

This recipe is vegetarian, gluten free and I don’t know. Dairy free? Yeah, it’s dairy free. I know people like these things. I just wanted to use a butternut squash.

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Cooking (quite badly) time: Bhaji Frittata

I am on a bit of a health kick at the moment, with a mad amount of juicing and salads, and none of that Christmas chocolate I have waiting for me for an occasional treat. To be honest, I’m really enjoying it and isn’t that much of a change to how I ate before, although I have had to think about everything I eat a lot more. But now it is becoming second nature to grab the spinach rather than the biscuits and I am really trying to challenge myself to see how far I can go with this health kick. We even got almond milk.

Today, I bring you a recipe. I must reinstate I am really bad at cooking, and you probably shouldn’t follow anything I say, but this was a bit different and BY GOLLY I WANT TO SHOW IT OFF. So keep reading if you fancy a bhaji frittata…

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(Gluten-Free) Passion Fruit Curd filled Cupcakes with a Meringue Topping

I’m a fan of baking cupcakes. I actually prefer baking them to eating them, which is a bit weird. Oh well.

It feels like weeks ago now, but last weekend a whipped up some vanilla cupcakes, filled them with some yummy passion fruit curd that we bought from a National Trust site over the summer and topped them with some meringue.

It is a dead simple recipe, nothing too fancy, so give them a go. You can use any curd you fancy, lemon would be so nice, mmmm.

Makes 12
Ingredients:
(For zee coopcakes)
110g/4oz caster sugar
110g/4oz butter
110g/4oz (gluten free) self raising flour
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
(About a quarter of a teaspoon of xanthan gum if you are using gluten free flour. Not integral but it does help.)

1. Oven on. Get it all warm so the cupcakes are nice and cosy later. Gas Mark 4.

2. Sugar. Butter. Mix mix mix. Get it nice and pale, and well combined.

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3. Eggs. Plop. Beat them into the mix like a crazy person. You could even put that vanilla extract in as well. I’m not forcing you to, but it would be a bit weird if you didn’t considering you’re following this recipe. Just saying.

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4. Sieve your flour and xanthan gum into your mix. Then fold them into the mix nicely. Don’t be nasty. Caress the flour with your big metal spoon. Wow. Nope, too far, sorry.

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5. Whack in some milk. Just makes it a nicer consistency for putting it into your cases.

6. Put them in some nice cases. Or ugly ones, they’ll still taste the same.

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Kay, cool. Let them bake then. Go on. Stop fussing, they’re fine.

They only take about 10-15 minutes WHICH IS AMAZING because in the space of like 30 minutes you can have cupcakes and that is fab. You could start making some meringue is you wanted. And you could do some tidying. But I don’t know, you might have a cleaner or a dishwasher. I don’t have either of those things. Life is so hard.

Meringue recipe. I don’t remember what I did to be honest. I think I just did:
2 egg whites
200g caster sugar

Let’s go with that.

7. All you do is whisk the eggs until they form stiff peaks. Which is baking terms for it goes proper thick and stuff.

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8. Then add your sugar bit by bit. Don’t add it all at once, just take your time. Keep whisking for about 2-3 minutes. Don’t eat it all before you even put it on the cakes, I know it is tempting.

Leave your meringue, and go and take pictures of your dog.

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9. Once you’ve done that (it is integral to the recipe I swear) check those cakes. Are they baked? Stick a skewer and see.  Is it dry when you take it out? Woooo. They are done. Let them cool on a wire rack, and make sure they are completely cool before doing anything else.

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10. Once they have cooled, make a little cone in the centre of the cake and take it out to make a hole. That makes no sense. Just have a look at the pictures.

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11. Fill them with your curd! You can stick the tops back on keep them off, up to you.

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12. Time to use that meringue. If you have one, get a piping bag and fill your piping bag up with meringue. Make sure to fold your piping bag so that your only filling half the bag and not getting into a sticky mess.

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13. Pipe your meringue onto your cakes (if you aren’t piping, just spoon it on). I also used a round nozzle because I’m a fancy pants.

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14. I didn’t have a torchy thing so I just stuck my cakes under the grill for a bit to brown them. I kept leaving it too long so some are a little… Darker… They tasted finnneeee.

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And that’s it!!

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If you read my recipes expecting a cohesive structure… I’m sorry.

Gluten (Flour) Free Orange and Almond Cake

I love a bit of cake. I love baking them too. Saturday afternoon I decided I would make a completely flourless cake, using ground almonds as a substitute. I had two oranges, so orange and almond cake it was!

Orange and Almond Cake
What you’ll need:
2 Oranges
5 Eggs, separated
200g Caster Sugar
225g Ground Almonds
Flaked Almonds to top
Icing Sugar to dust

1. Get your two lovely oranges, give them a wash and cut them up roughly with the skins still on. Remove all the pips.

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2. Plonk them in a small pan, and put some water in. Some recipes say add a little water, but I’d say fill it up quite a bit so the oranges don’t burn. Let that simmer for around 30 minutes, or until the excess liquid has evaporated.

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3. You separated your eggs? What do mean not yet? Get on with it! Whilst you’re at stick your oven onto gas mark 4.

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5. If you’re oranges are nice and soft, and they look ready then take them off the heat, let them cool, then chop them finely. If you can put them in a food chopper or food processor and blitz them almost into a purée, even better.

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6. Leave your oranges to fully cool, we don’t want scrambled eggs. Next up is whisking that egg white until it forms stiff peaks. I did this by hand because I’m crazy and my arm felt like it would fall off slightly, but feel free to use an electric mixer or whisk.

7. Then add half of your sugar (100g) into you egg white, and whisk that in. Keep whisking for 3-4 minutes.

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8. Get those egg yolks and the rest of your sugar, and whisk them into a think, pale mixture.

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9. If your orange is cool put it into the mix, then add the ground almonds and mix them in too.

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10. Then add 3 tablespoons of your egg white, and mix it in to loosen the mixture. Then add the rest in and fold gently.

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11. Put it in a tin. I don’t know how big. Whatever you think. Make sure you grease it or use baking parchment. Scatter on some flaked almonds and stick it in the oven for 50-55 minutes.

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12. After 20 minutes check your lovely cake. Ask it how it is doing. If it says “ooh I’m tanning quite quickly actually” and it seems to be getting that lovely brown glow all cakes long for fairly quickly, place some tin foil over it. Don’t want to over tan, it’s not a good look.

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13. 30 minutes later, see how it is doing. Stick a skewer in the middle and if it comes out dry, your cake is done. Woohoo! Turn off your oven because I forget to do that sometimes and get told off, and keep it in the tin for a good 10-15 minutes. Then turn out your cake.

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14. Once it has cooled down fully, dust with icing sugar… And that’s it! Eat that cake!

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Adapted from this recipe: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/2758/spanish-orange-and-almond-cake.aspx 🙂

Happy baking!!

Cooking (quite badly) time: Gluten-Free Salmon Fishcakes

Cooking time again- probably not a good thing though. I’m bad at this. But I made salmon fishcakes and they were quite nice. Filling though, phewf. Warning: this is the most confusing recipe ever due to how I ramble on a lot.

(Makes 8 fishcakes, which I thought would be small but they weren’t so be warned.)

1. So I started off with some gluten free bread to get some breadcrumbs ready for later. I wanted them to dry out a bit, so I thought I’d do them first (thinking ahead, I know, look at me). I used 150g-ish, cut them up a bit, then plonked them in the food processor, chopper thing we have. I don’t know, it was just really fun to use.

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2. I stuck on the oven to gas mark 4 to get nice and toasty for my salmon, then I got a pan of slightly seasoned (I just chucked some salt in cause I thought I should) water on heat so it could boil for some potatoes. Woohoo, potatoes. So then I peeled about 4 and a half potatoes and chopped them a little, and took an artsy photo of my potatoes, before chucking them into the boiling water and letting them do their thing for about 30 minutes.

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3. Before I got my salmon ready, I got the zest and juice of half a lemon prepared. Then another artsy photo.

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4. Time for the salmon. The oven was nice and hot, so I brushed the salmon with olive oil, and a bit on the tray because I have no idea what I’m doing half the time, and plonked it in the oven for about 25 minutes. Yum.

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5. Whilst I was waiting for the salmon I tidied up a bit and then put some salad on my plates ready for serving (told you, definition of preparedness). Then I got the salmon out and let it cool before flaking it and discarding the skin. I couldn’t find any bones to discard, but I wasn’t wearing my glasses so who knows.

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6. I totally forgot to mention that I mashed my potatoes up, whilst the salmon was cooling. Added some milk and seasoned them, but didn’t do too much to them really because I’m useless.

7. Then it was time to get the mash, salmon, 2 tbsp of melted butter and 2 tsp of wholegrain mustard and mix it all together. I didn’t have any parsley or dill which I wanted to add, so I had a little cry and thought about my life choices, then got on with the cooking. It is a hard life when you don’t have parsley and dill.

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8. Then I added that lemon juice and rind from before and seasoned the mixture, then did a bit more mixing. Which felt like baking so I enjoyed it.

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9. Got some gluten free plain flour, the breadcrumbs and a slightly beaten egg and put them out ready for the messy part…

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10. … Which starts by diving the mix into 8 balls then squashing them into thick disks. Again, felt like baking so I enjoyed it lots.

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11. Once I made my cute little disks of fish and potato, I dipped each one in flour, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs and look… Fishcakes!!

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12. So the scary part is actually frying the fishcakes and I’m totally going to blame the gluten free bread for the slight failing of the last step, even though it was more so the fact that I didn’t put enough oil in or something. To fry them you just heat some oil in a frying pan then in batches plonk in them fishcakes.

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13. When they are all crispy put them on a plate and voilà! I cut up the other half of the lemon into wedges to serve and mayonnaise was also really tasty with it, so yeah. If you like mayo, it is nice.

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They were tasty, I promise.

😉

Liverpool and the Gluten Free Pasta

My parents and I decided we needed a day out today, so we hopped on a train to Liverpool to have a bit of a wander and a browse. How quaint. I’m a fan of Liverpool, and when people slag it off I get a bit protective for some bizarre reason. It is the nearest city to where I live, so I visit it fairly regularly, and after trips away, when I reach Liverpool, on my return, it feels like I’m home (I know, how cliché, but I’m all about the clichés on this blog apparently).

I needed some more work clothes so nipped into Forever 21, because I love it a lot, and got some bits and bobs. I had to avoid the top floor however, because it has a massive jewellery section and I want all of the necklaces. I’d take some pictures of the clothes, but they aren’t actually anything too exciting, and I’m quite lazy. (I did get a pair of lovely trousers though, which actually look alright on me, which is rare. Woo! Crazy times, I’m living in the future wearing trousers instead of skirts for once.)

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Have a picture of a bag instead.

I also ended up buying ‘The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden‘ by Jonas Jonasson, the author of ‘The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared‘. I have no idea if either of them are good yet, but I’ve heard great things about Jonasson so I’m looking forward to giving it a read. Anyone read any of his books before?

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Next stop for me was The Body Shop as I fancied trying a new foundation, and ended up buying a BB Cream and a Primer. I really like the products so far, hopefully they will last in the (sweaty) clubs! (I don’t feel I could carry off reviewing make-up; I love make-up, but posts purely on make-up don’t sound like something I could write about. My calling is not for beauty!) Would you like some pictures of some BB Cream and Primer? No? Tough, I took pictures.

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Oooooooh

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Ahhhhhh

Quick note: Pret à manger does some really nice mango/passion fruit smoothies and coffees. That’s all.

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That was my little shopping hall… Yeah. Hope you enjoyed that. Needless to say, my debit card got a bit of a battering today. I’m going to talk about food now, which I much prefer talking about. Time to get hungry.

So we decided to go to Carluccio’s in the Met Quarter (if you don’t know Liverpool, it is like the posh bit. Living the high life, guys). Going to Italian restaurants with someone with coeliac’s is always a bit rubbish, as my dad usually ends up with very little choice, but this time we were pleasantly surprised. After asking for a GF menu, he was handed with this beauty:

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LOOK AT ALL THAT FOOD! Never seen a GF menu so full of choice, my dad was like a little kid at a sweet shop (cliché central here, I’m telling you).

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Food wise, I’ll just show you some pictures. I’m tired, and the food looked so lovely that it pretty much speaks for itself (hint: it was all very tasty).

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Paté for my mum and I, so tasty.

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Chargrilled sardines for Dad, yes that is a starter.

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Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli for mum and I (little bit too salty, but the pasta itself was gorgeous)

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Gluten Free carbonara, it was amazing

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Panna cotta for mum

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Fruit salad for dad

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Crazily tasty almond and kahlua chocolate pudding for me

Hungry? Wait, look at these cool meringues that you could buy too.

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Farncy.

I know, I was impressed too. It is a lovely restaurant, and felt very relaxed, I definitely recommended it, especially if you have a gluten intolerance.

This post was a little bit strange to write, probably stranger to read, but hopefully it was interesting in some way. We had a really lovely afternoon out, and I just felt like writing about it. Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend 🙂

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Cooking (quite badly) time: Gluten-Free Burgers

So I don’t cook much, as I don’t think I’m very good, I’m lazy, my parents are great cooks and quite frankly, I’m more of a baking girl. But I need to kick my butt into shape on the cooking front, so I looked in our fridge and found very little… But we did have some beef mince, and my dad’s gluten-free bread (he is a Coeliac) so I decided to make some really simple burgers!!! Wahey!!

(Makes 4 burgers)

1. Get that mince. I used about 300-400g of beef mince. I think. I have no idea, I just used what looked right.

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2. Get that bread. I used gluten-free bread so my dad doesn’t keel over, and grated it into my mix. I used 3 pieces and cut off the crusts, but they are pretty tiny pieces of bread (seriously, no idea why they are so tiny, it is really bizarre) so two larger pieces would probably do. Don’t take my word for it, I’m really not a good cook.

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3. Get that egg. Crack that egg. Plonk that egg in your mix.

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4. Get that salt. Get that black pepper. Season your mix. I just fling some in and hope for the best. I added a bit too much pepper possibly, but I’m not the biggest fan of pepper so I’m probably being oversensitive.

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5. Mix it all!! (With clean hands, I would hope).

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6. Pat and shape them into cute little blobs. I made 4 with this mix, but they were pretty hefty burgers. I also only needed 3 so my dad was in for a big tea.

7. Heat up your pan for about 4 minutes with some cooking oil, and maybe have a little tidy whilst you do that because my mum hates a messy cook (and my mum is too nice to upset). I also put the burgers in the fridge. To firm them, or something. When it has heated up, put in them burgers, yum yum.

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8. Cook them for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Well that’s what I did, and they turned out okay (but you go for what your heart feels, follow your dreams, live a free life…).

9. Whilst they cook get your buns ready (I used a gluten free roll for my dad and heated it for 30 seconds in the microwave otherwise they are gross), butter them up, cut some lettuce and red onion and plonk it on. Maybe some cheese… Go crazy!! I put out a little salad with some plum tomatoes too, because yum.

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10. I put some new-potatoes-garlic-butter-thing in the microwave whilst my little burgers cooked away, because I’m a cheat. Then once I had cooked  both sides I served it all up. Yum. (I also burnt myself, baking is so much nicer).

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11. Eating time!

So yeah, this has been cooking badly with Rhiannon! (I apologise to all cooking blogs).