Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Friday, 28 April 2017

Carrot, Peanut and White Chocolate Chunk Cake with the Help of Wow Cake Mixes - Miss GF Makes #11 (gluten free)


Last year when I attended The Allergy and Free From Show in London with Miss GF, we discovered the Wow Cake Company. For those of you who haven't heard of them yet, they are a Lancashire-based company specialising in gluten free cake mixes.

At the show, me and Miss Gf were only too willing to sample their cakes, all of which were yummy. We were however, particularly taken with the Carrot Cake.


As is the case when we attend shows and get very excited about new products, we bought a tub of the Carrot Cake mix (along with way too much other stuff). It duly got stored in the larder and somehow, being 'out of sight out of mind' got forgotten in the daily chaos that is GFHQ. Oops! Either way, a few weeks back, Miss GF rediscovered it and promptly set about playing with it.

It was fortunately still in date, but I did notice when perusing the website this morning, that Wow Cakes have updated their packaging and the mixes now come in sealed bags rather than tubs.

One of the things that we particularly liked about the Carrot Cake mix was that it was beautifully moist, not over sweet and was packed full of traditional Carrot Cake spice...... Cinnamon and a little nutmeg are a must. The mix requires the addition of butter or margarine, eggs and grated carrot, but apart from that there is no work to do other than mix.


We weren't disappointed when we made it at home...... although of course, as is the want of Miss GF, it was given a little makeover with a few additions...... Well she is my daughter after all and they say 'the apple never falls far from the tree'..... In GFHQ, a recipe or a mix is usually only seen as a canvass on which to paint.

The particular contribution made by Miss GF (who incidentally (as always) made the cake in the gap between getting home from school and myself and Mr GF arriving back from work..... when she had the kitchen to herself), was to throw in a load of peanuts for crunch  and some white chocolate chunks simply because chocolate goes with everything... right?

As she had a little batter left over after filling the tins, she also made a couple of mini Carrot Cake Bundts to use it up...... which (you have to admit) are pretty cute. This mix would make a lovely large Bundt too!


The cakes were layered (or filled) with the 'expected' pairing of cream cheese frosting, reserving a little to colour orange and provide contrast to the top of the large cake. A sprinkle of grated white chocolate on the tops and they were done.

To be fair, we already knew Wow Cake Mixes were fab, having previously trialled their Ultimate Sponge Mix last Summer. Seriously, these cakes are a cinch to make..... Miss GF (still only 11) could make them standing on her head..... so even if you are cautious around baking, these are worth a go. Last year Miss GF made an amazing show-stompingly bright Olympic Cake with the Vanilla Sponge mix, to celebrate sporting's biggest event..... she even incorporated her first attempt at sugar work to turn the cake into a stadium!

This Carrot Cake may be of more simple form, but it is certainly no less tasty. So well done Miss GF....... Another amazing addition to the tea-table.


I am sharing with the following linkies :


Cook Blog Share with Everyday Healthy Recipes

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum







Free From Fridays with Le Coin De Mel and Free From Farmhouse

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too


Carrot, Peanut & White Chocolate Chunk Cake - A Wow Cake Mix with Additions  (makes 1 x 9 inch sandwich cake or 1 x 8 inch sandwich cake and 3 mini bundts/cupcakes)

Ingredients

1 x Wow Carrot Cake Mix
208g unsalted butter (softened) or margarine
3 large eggs - room temperature
3 medium carrots - grated
large handful raw unsalted peanuts - rough chopped
100g white chocolate chunks/chips

Cream Cheese Frosting : 
225g cream cheese (we used Philadelphia Cheese)
300g unsalted softened butter
250g icing sugar - sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a few drops of orange (or red and yellow- mixed) food colouring

grated white chocolate to decorate

Method

  1. Sponge : Base-line 2 non-stick round (8 inch or 9 inch) cake tins with baking paper and pre-heat your oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3. If you make a smaller round cake, you are likely to have enough batter left for a couple of mini cakes as well, so ready 3 or 4 cases as necessary.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix with the butter/margarine.
  3. Add the eggs and whisk until you have a creamy batter. 
  4. Add the grated carrots and fold into the mixture. 
  5. Fold in the peanuts and chocolate chips. 
  6. Pour the mixture into the cake tins, smooth the tops and bake for about 30 minutes until the top is firm to the touch. 
  7. Leave to cool in the tins for about 10 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
  8. Whilst cooling, make the cream-cheese frosting : Beat the cream cheese and butter together using a whisk in a large bowl.
  9. Gradually add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and continue to beat until you have a smooth icing with a good spreading consistency. You may need to add a little more icing sugar, depending on how soft your frosting is.
  10. Remove 4 to 5 tablespoons of the icing and colour orange using food colouring.
  11. When the sponges are cold, sandwich them together with a thick layer of frosting. Remember to reserve a little frosting for small cakes if you have made them.
  12. Spread the remaining white and orange frosting on the top as you choose and sprinkle with grated white chocolate.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Rich & Chocolatey Golden Egg Cake - Who Says Gluten Free Can't be Decadently Show-Stopping?


Easter has been and gone and so has this very very decadent, Rich and Chocolatey Golden Egg Cake...... but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to show it off in all its glory.

I would have loved to publish this recipe before Easter, but sometimes even bloggers have to hold on making things until the time is right. This particular cake required plenty of company to share and enjoy and was so decadent, it could only be made once.....


This is a cake for serious chocolate lovers...... moist, light, gluten free chocolate sponge...... layered with rich, creamy, vanilla-infused butter icing....... slathered from top to bottom in smooth dark, sumptuous ganache...... surrounded by crisp, wafery dark chocolate cigarillos...... decorated with shiny, crunchy caramel-chocolate Galaxy Golden Eggs, chocolate curls and edible golden glitter...... This cake is a show-stopper in every sense.


We had a fantastically, chilled Easter...... with family staying, a new extension, deck and patio to enjoy in the beautiful sunshine and plenty of delicious food and free-flowing wine and bubbly..... Some local mooching in the lovely Whitstable shops, drinks on the beach at the local Neptune pub, a stroll through the harbour, an impromptu egg hunt and the kids (and adults) making the most of the trampoline at the bottom of the garden..... Life doesn't get better.

Chocolate cake was the perfect Easter treat and given that one of our guests had had a birthday the day before arrival, it also rose to the occasion as a spontaneous birthday cake.


The chocolate sponge is my 'go to' recipe which I first developed in my early gluten free days. It is not over-sweet, uses almonds for extra structure and moistness (giving it a fantastic 'improve over time' shelf-life) and has yet to fail me. It has adorned many birthday and celebratory tables in various decorative guises.... Among its incarnations have been an early 'Kiss Cake', a version with butter-icing roses, and Miss GF's 8th birthday cake with blue icing and pink rosy swirls. The recipe makes the most amazing cupcakes as well..... I made some pretty Easter mini egg ones back in my first year of blogging with a variety of Italian Butter Creams and always try to make extra cake batter, to squeeze a few 'ready to go' cupcakes in the freezer when I am making a large cake (they freeze brilliantly).


The eagle-eyed of you will notice that having never used chocolate cigarillos before, this is now the second cake in a matter of weeks that has appeared on Gluten Free Alchemist dressed to kill. I bought a stash with this cake in mind, only to have Miss GF snaffle a load for my birthday cake back in March. I am absolutely not complaining..... she did them (and me) proud with her Fudgy Chocolate-Berry Cake..... but I then had to buy more so that I would have enough for this cake.

I bought the first batch online from the Chocolate Trading Company and was really impressed with both the quality and the packaging (which kept them secure from breakage during transit). Sadly, when I bought additional supplies, I bought them from a different company (The Craft Company), only to find that about a third of the sticks were broken. I had just enough (with only one to spare) to surround the cake. I didn't have time before making the cake to complain and I'm not sure I can be bothered now, but I won't be buying cigarillos from them again!


Either way, I share this Easter Rich and Chocolatey Golden Egg Cake with you today...... (better late than never)...... feeling very smug, knowing that it has now all been eaten and enjoyed by everyone who was lucky enough to plate a slice........

Of course..... you could nip down to the shops whilst you can still grab Golden Eggs in the post-Easter sales and make one anyway...... I won't tell!

Places I am sharing the chocolate love.....


Bake of the Week with Casa Costello.

Cook Blog Share with Recipes Made Easy.







Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum.



Free From Fridays with Le Coin De Mel and Free From Farmhouse.

Love Cake with Jibber Jabber - who's theme this month is 'it was all yellow'. Okay..... I may be pushing it a bit far here, but gold is almost yellow..... isn't it?



Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching For Spice - This cake was huge and rich..... Even feeding a load of mouths, you are likely to have a couple of slices left for tomorrow...... Or maybe not....



Rich & Chocolatey Golden Egg Cake

Ingredients

Chocolate Sponge
190g plain GF flour mix (I used mix A from this post)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
40g cocoa
80 ml boiling-hot water
240 ml milk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
105g unsalted butter (room temperature)
285g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs (room temperature)
105g ground almonds

Vanilla Butter Icing
120g unsalted butter (softened)
350g icing sugar (sifted)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut/almond/other milk

Dark Chocolate Ganache
225g good quality dark chocolate (chopped)
160 ml double cream

Decoration
90 to 100 x 10cm dark chocolate cigarillos
2 to 3 bags Galaxy Golden Eggs
1 dark chocolate mini egg
dark chocolate curls/grated chocolate
edible gold glitter
gold ribbon of choice

Method

  1. Sponges : Base-line 2 x 8 inch round cake tins with baking paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4. 
  3. Weigh and mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt, making sure any lumps are broken down and all ingredients are well-blended. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, sift the cocoa and gradually add the hot water a little at a time, stirring to form a smooth paste. Set aside.
  5. Using a measuring jug, combine the milk with the vinegar and stir. Leave to stand for 10 minutes (it will become slightly 'lumpy').
  6. Cream the butter and sugar with the vanilla extract in a large bowl with an electric whisk, until light, fluffy and pale in colour. 
  7. Beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring they are well blended.
  8. Add the cocoa paste and beat thoroughly until you have a smooth even mixture.
  9. Fold in the ground almonds.
  10. Gently fold in the flour mix alternately with the milk-vinegar mix about a third at a time, ensuring all ingredients are just combined. Ensure you do not over-mix.
  11. Divide the batter equally between the two tins and smooth the surface.
  12. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  13. Leave the cakes in the tins for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
  14. Butter Icing : Beat the butter until soft and pale, then gradually add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and a little milk until light and fluffy and a good thick spreading consistency.
  15. Place the sponge on a flat, clean cake/chopping board and spread the icing evenly and smoothly on the internal side of one of the sponges and sandwich together with the second sponge. Ensure the sides are smooth, by using a palette knife and a little icing to fill any gaps.
  16. Chocolate Ganache : Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
  17. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until just at simmer point and then pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for about 30 seconds and then stir until all the chocolate has melted and blended with the cream and the ganache is smooth.
  18. Allow to gradually cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally until the ganache has thickened to a spreading consistency.
  19. Spread the sides of the cake with a layer of ganache and then the top. Ensure the top in particular, is smooth.
  20. Use a couple of flat spatulas straight away to carefully lift the cake onto a serving plate or stand and immediately stick the cigarillos to the sides of the cake, working quickly but carefully until you have a cigarillo 'wall' around the entire cake. 
  21. Carefully tie the ribbon round the sides of the cake to secure.
  22. Arrange the golden eggs around the inside of the cigarillo wall and in the centre of the cake with the dark chocolate egg.
  23. Sprinkle the surface with chocolate curls, grated chocolate and edible glitter, ready to serve.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Almond, Cherry, Apricot & Marzipan Hot Cross Buns - gluten free


Can it be Easter without hot cross buns? I think not! The Christian symbolism of the cross to represent the crucifixion of Jesus is synonymous with Good Friday..... which when I was a kid, was the only day you got to eat these delicious offerings. These days, the hot cross bun seems to be available pretty much all year...... and somehow they have become a little less special for losing their rarity......

Either way, in the 'old days' in GF HQ, before being gluten free, I always bought our hot cross buns and would get very excited by the prospect of anything a little bit 'deviant' from the traditional sultana and mixed peel recipe. To be honest.... I've never much been a fan of mixed peel.


As the range of commercially-available gluten free bakes grows, it is increasingly easy to find GF hot cross buns in the shops, which to be fair, are largely pretty good. Our favourites for softness and texture have to be the Tesco's own Free From brand, which (I think) come pretty close to the usual glutenous Good Friday treat.

Unfortunately though, my envy of gluten-eating folk remains...... with any number of wheat-based buns sporting alternative flavour combinations being available...... all neatly packaged and free of faff. If you can eat gluten, you can treat yourself to anything from chocolate chip to apple, or carrot cake to caramel. M&S boast no less than nine different varieties to choose from..... including a savoury cheese and onion bun.


I could stay grumpy and envious of course and take the 'woe is me.... I'm gluten free and no-body thinks about us' attitude (which I frankly find really irritating), or I could use the dearth of commercial gluten free creativity as an opportunity...... Why wait for commercial miracles?

So....... What sort of hot cross buns do we want?

For the last couple of years, I have played with ingredients to get a good hot cross bun recipe and each with different flavours. My first foray into bun-world was a very fruity Apple, Cherry and Sultana version...... boy were they good!

Then last year, I made a Miss GF favourite...... Choc Cross Buns, using a very different recipe which took a few attempts to perfect. They too were delicious....... although I ended up with so many extra 'experimental' buns that some found their way into a delicious 'left-overs' Chocolate Bread Pudding....

So what this year? Well...... I have tweaked a few ingredients on last year's recipe to come up with these little babies...... Loaded with Morello glace cherries and soft dried apricots, infused with extract of almond and encasing a hidden treat of simple home-made marzipan, these Almond, Cherry, Apricot and Marzipan gluten free Hot Cross Buns will give M&S a run for their money any day!


They are amazingly good. Straight out of the oven they are divine........ They are still pretty soft a day later (I added a little glycerine to the recipe to prolong their squidginess)...... and if they need revitalising, a quick warm-up in the microwave does the trick, or alternatively, they toast to perfection and can be devoured with or without a slather of butter.....

Who says gluten free hot cross buns can't be avant garde? You just need a little creativity, inspiration and the will to make them yourself!

Oh..... and see those cute little eggs photobombing the shoot? I came home one day and opened the egg box to find that Miss GF had been busy in her own creative way...... Not sure I have the heart to eat them now.


I am sharing my buns with :


Treat Petite - this month with The Baking Explorer (and Cakeyboi)

Cook Blog Share with Easy Peasy Foodie





Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice

Sunday Fitness & Food with Marathons & Motivation and Ilka's Blog



Other Hot Cross Bun Recipes from around the web :

Choc Cross Buns - Gluten Free Alchemist
Hot Cross Cinnamon Buns - Supergolden Bakes
Carrot & Ginger Buns - Veggie Desserts
Apple, Cherry & Sultana Buns - Gluten Free Alchemist
Banana Chocolate-Chip Buns - Eats Amazing
Vegan Apple, Date & Walnut Buns - The Peachicks Bakery
Hot Cross Bun Chocolate Rolls - Free From Fairy
Banana, Sultana, Walnut & Cinnamon Buns - Belleau Kitchen


Almond, Cherry, Apricot & Marzipan Hot Cross Buns (makes approx 18 buns)

Ingredients


70g ground almonds
200g plain GF flour blend (I used blend A from this post)
150g tapioca starch flour
160g oat flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
75g golden caster sugar
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

15g ground psyllium husk
3 large eggs
200 ml hot (not boiling) water

14g easy bake yeast
1 teaspoon runny honey
200 ml warm milk (45 C)
45 ml (3 tablespoons) plain yoghurt

60g unsalted butter - melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
1½ teaspoons glycerine

100g chopped dried apricots
150g chopped morello glace cherries

slivered almonds to decorate

Marzipan :
made as in this recipe

Egg Wash :
1 egg
a little milk

Piped Crosses :
50g plain GF flour blend
1 tablespoon icing sugar
50 ml cold water

Sugar Glaze
1½ tablespoons light soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons water

Method

  1. Prepare your marzipan first as in this recipe or use a ready-made commercial brand. Roll 18 balls of marzipan about 2 cm in diameter.
  2. Weigh and mix together the almonds, flours, salt, caster sugar, baking powder and xanthan gum, making sure there are no lumps. Set aside in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the psyllium husk, eggs and hot water. Set aside to thicken whilst you prepare your other ingredients.
  4. In another medium bowl, whisk together the yeast, honey, warm milk (at a temperature of 45C) and yoghurt. Leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast and until frothy.
  5. In a small bowl, gently melt the butter and then add the vanilla and almond extracts and glycerine. Combine well.
  6. Add the three wet mixes and the chopped dried fruit to the dry flour mix and fold until just combined. You should now have a very sticky dough.
  7. Using well-floured hands and a floured work surface, bring the dough together into a fat sausage shape and cut into 18 pieces using a sharp knife.
  8. Take a piece of dough and a marzipan ball and shape the dough round the marzipan, pushing the edges together to seal, so that the marzipan is concealed inside the dough.
  9. Roll the ball of dough gently in your hands to form a bun shape and place on a baking sheet, base-lined with baking paper.
  10. Repeat the process for each bun until all the dough has been used. Place each filled dough-ball on the baking sheet, leaving a good gap between them to allow for rising. 
  11. Place the uncooked buns (with a piece of clingfilm lightly draped over the surface) to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, until almost doubled in size.
  12. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
  13. Prepare your egg-wash by beating together an egg with a little milk. Brush over the surface of each uncooked bun.
  14. For the crosses : mix the flour, icing sugar and cold water together into a smooth paste.
  15. Put this mixture into a disposable piping bag and snip a tiny bit off the end to make a hole about 5mm in diameter, and pipe crosses onto the buns.
  16. Sprinkle a few slivered almonds into the centre of each cross and push down slightly to stick. 
  17. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden.
  18. Whilst the buns are baking, prepare the sugar glaze. Heat the brown sugar and water together either in a small bowl in the microwave, or in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  19. Remove the buns from the oven when baked and whilst still hot, brush the tops with sugar glaze. 
  20. Leave to cool on a wire rack, or eat warm.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated

Friday, 7 April 2017

Very Decadent Fudgy Chocolate-Berry Birthday Cake with Chocolate Ganache - Miss GF Makes #10


This year I seemed to 'lose' March. No sooner had it arrived, than we launched into a month-long formal inspection at work, which called for excess hours in the office and many hours of intense focus. Planned leave was cancelled and one tired day piled into another.....

In amongst the chaotic busyness and ups and downs, I also had a birthday. To be honest, it came and went with very little expectation and minimal fuss. I am sad to say that I have reached an age where birthdays become increasingly scary....... Except that Miss GF made me the most amazing and incredibly decadent birthday cake. Look at it! I have to pinch myself that she is still only 11 years old. No kidding...... she made this cake without any help at all!


I have no idea where she found her inspiration for this beautiful Fudgy Chocolate-Berry Cake, but I am thrilled to say that she is using the blog as the intended recipe 'book' that it is and sourced the chocolate sponge from a recipe that I developed for her own birthday a couple of years ago. She added her own mark by throwing some freeze-dried strawberries into the mix and then took it from there......

When she saw that I had bought some cigarillos (for another cake I had planned), she nobbled a load and worked out her own way to stick them to the sides (with butter-frosting). She requested lots of strawberries and raspberries the day before, which were freshly delivered to 'her' kitchen, found a jar of raspberry jam in the larder and finished the whole lot off with a spread of dark ganache and a sprinkle of grated chocolate.


I will be honest..... she made the cake over two days after school and when I saw the sponge come out of the oven, I was a little concerned that it was going to be dry as no compensation had been made for the liquid that the dried strawberries would suck up. I needn't have worried..... this recipe is very forgiving and when we eventually got to eat the cake, the sponge was perfectly dense and very fudgy. It worked superbly with the tart softness of the fruit, the sweet, decadent crispness of the cigarillos and the smooth richness of the ganache.


This is not a cake for the faint-hearted.... It is very rich and works well served with a slug of cream. A 'three or four cigarillo' slice is ample...... which means it goes a very long way...... Perfect for celebratory sharing!

Well done Miss GF...... I can honestly say this is the best birthday cake I have ever had.

As for birthday presents..... Mr GF has kindly bought me a wonderful trip to River Cottage for a day's gluten free baking with Naomi Devlin in May. I can't wait. No matter how my confidence in the GF kitchen grows, there is so much more to learn and I love hearing how the experts do it..... Perhaps Miss GF could give me a few lessons!


I am sharing Miss GF's incredible Very Decadent Fudgy Chocolate-Berry Birthday Cake with :


Cook Blog Share with Hijacked By Twins

Free From Fridays with Le Coin De Mel and Free From Farmhouse







Sunday Fitness & Food with Marathons & Motivation and Ilka's Blog



Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

We Should Cocoa with Tin & Thyme

Fiesta Friday with Angie



Very Decadent Fudgy Chocolate-Berry Birthday Cake 

Ingredients

Fudge Cake
100g plain GF flour mix (I used blend A from this post)
15g cocoa powder
pinch fine sea salt
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g ground almonds
½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder

200g dark chocolate - broken into small pieces
150g unsalted butter
4 large eggs
200g caster sugar
100g dark chocolate chunks
handful freeze dried strawberries

Method

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together (except the strawberries), making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
  2. Base-line 2 x 8 inch non-stick baking tins with baking paper.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  4. Melt the dark chocolate (200g) and butter in a heat-proof glass bowl, either over a saucepan of simmering water (stirring frequently) or in the microwave on medium setting at 30 second bursts, stirring between each. Set aside to cool slightly.
  5. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork until well-blended and creamy.
  6. Add the sugar and beat again.
  7. Add the melted chocolate mix and beat in well. 
  8. Add the dry ingredients and fold until the batter is smooth.
  9. Add and fold in the chocolate chunks and strawberries.
  10. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and spread evenly.
  11. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. The cake will have a crusty top.
  12. Leave to cool in the tin, before removing ready to decorate.
Vanilla Butter-Frosting & Cigarillos 
120g unsalted butter - softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
400g icing sugar - sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons almond (or other) milk
raspberry or strawberry jam
Approx 80 chocolate Cigarillos

Method

  1. Beat the butter until soft with the vanilla extract.
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar and a little milk until you have a light, smooth butter frosting.
  3. Place one half of the cake (crusty side down) and spread a good layer of frosting across the surface. 
  4. On the soft side of the second sponge, spread a layer of jam and then place this on top of the first layer, jam side down.
  5. Spread a good layer of icing sugar round the sides of the layered cake using a spatula.
  6. Carefully place the cake onto a serving plate and then gently but firmly, press the cigarillos one by one round the sides of the cake to form a 'wall'. Leave a small gap for a fruit-ganache waterfall.
Chocolate ganache, Fruit and Decoration
150g dark chocolate - chopped 
150ml double cream
400g fresh strawberries - washed & trimmed
500g fresh raspberries
grated dark chocolate

Method

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over a low heat until just at simmer point.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate, leave to sit for a couple of minutes and the stir until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is liquid and smooth. Set aside to cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally until beginning to thicken.
  4. When the ganache has thickened to spreading consistency, spoon some onto the top of the cake and spread to the edges inside the cigarillos. Spread a little down the gap in the cake to form a 'waterfall'. Keep a couple of tablespoons back for decoration.
  5. Pile the prepared fruit onto the top of the cake, sticking a few pieces of fruit onto the ganache waterfall.
  6. Gently heat the remaining ganache over a bowl of steaming water to loosen and drizzle over the fruit.
  7. Add a sprinkle of grated chocolate to decorate.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Goose Egg, Blue Cheese & Prosciutto Salad - gluten free


Have you ever eaten goose eggs? They may be hard to find, but if you manage to get your hands on any, make sure you give them a try.

One of the reasons goose eggs are difficult to source is that they are seasonal. A goose will only lay about 40 eggs a year, starting in the Spring...... but if you are lucky, you will come across them in local farmer's markets and farm shops..... and if you do..... grab them quick!


Don't be put off by their size..... sure they are big..... really big, but they also have a higher yolk to white ratio, which makes them extra rich, flavourful and with a deeper yellow centre...... Perfect for making decadent, protein-filled omelettes, scrambled egg, frittata, quiche, or for the most amazing hard boiled egg. I recently made Scotch Eggs using normal hen's eggs, but I reckon goose eggs would have made the most delicious monster-sized snack on the planet! Those yolks are not only huge, but they are extra creamy and are the most mouth-wateringly beautiful, head-turning yellow colour.


Of course, you don't need to limit yourself to using them in obvious egg dishes either...... You can use them as a sub for any other egg..... 1 goose egg equating to about 2½ to 3 large hens eggs (but always worth checking by shelled weight, as size may vary). Given the size of the yolks, you may find the texture of a sponge becomes slightly more dense...... although it will remain wonderfully moist!

This salad is a low-carb, protein-full bowl of yumminess. Your favourite salad leaves form a thick base, topped with tomatoes, crispy prosciutto, blue cheese, toasted seeds and a hard-boiled goose egg..... all seasoned to perfection with a drizzle of balsamic dressing, a sprinkle of salt and a grind of black pepper.

It sings of Spring and onward to Summer...... warm days and lunch in the garden........ picnics on the beach......


I am sharing my Goose Egg, Blue Cheese and Prosciutto Salad with :


Cook Blog Share with Hijacked By Twins

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too






Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation

Free From Fridays with The Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel





Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

No Waste Food Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary - There was no plan to put prosciutto in this salad when I first set out to make it, but having found a couple of slices out of date hidden in the fridge, it struck me that the best way to resurrect them was to crispy fry and pop on the top. Sometimes fate turns the perfect treat!


Simple & in Season with Feeding Boys










Other recipes from around the web using goose eggs :
Goose Egg Frittata with Spiralized Roasted Veg - Gluten Free Alchemist
Lavender Chocolate Goose Egg Cake - Tin & Thyme
Goose Egg Lemon Curd - The Simple Things
Willie's Cloud Forest Cake - Tin & Thyme
Golden Goose Egg Omelet - Lucy Lean
Chocolate Brownies - British Goose Producers
Goose Egg on Smoked Goats Cheese Potato Rosti - The British Larder
Baked Goose Egg & Asparagus - The Staff Canteen



Goose Egg, Blue Cheese & Prosciutto Salad (serves 1 or 2 depending on how hungry you are)

Ingredients

1 goose egg - brought to room temperature
2 to 3 slices prosciutto
handful pinenuts and pumpkin seeds
3 to 4 large handfuls of salad leaves of choice (I used a mix of baby leaves)
a few cherry tomatoes on the vine
a few chunks of blue cheese of choice - crumbled
good quality virgin olive oil
good quality balsamic vinegar
sea salt and black pepper to season

Method

  1. Hard boil your goose egg : Bring a pan of water (enough to cover the egg) to the boil and then gently lower the egg into the water. Boil for 14 minutes and then remove from the pan and place in cold water.
  2. Crispy-fry the prosciutto : Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, without oil. Once hot, place the prosciutto in the base and 'fry', turning part-way through until crisp. Set aside.
  3. Toast the pumpkin and pinenuts : Heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6. Place the seeds in an oven-proof dish and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, turning a couple of times during the process to toast evenly. Once the seeds are beginning to turn golden, remove from the oven and set aside. 
  4. Carefully peel the egg and slice in half lengthways.
  5. Arrange the salad in the base of a serving dish and top with the egg, prosciutto, tomatoes, blue cheese and sprinkled seeds.
  6. To make the dressing, put about a tablespoon each of balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl and beat together with a fork. 
  7. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and season with a good grind of black pepper and a shake of salt.
  8. Eat on its own, or serve with a slice of your favourite gluten free toast.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated