Sunday, 12 July 2015

Chicken & Tarragon Pie (gluten free)

My blog enthusiasm has dropped this week..... It has been a difficult week!

My blog has disappeared from the Google search engine..... completely! No links to the blog home page and no connected page links either. It is there on Bing and Yahoo, but it would appear I have been deleted from Google...... delisted I assume, but with no warning, explanation or logical reasoning. I may have been hacked, but if not, I can only assume I must have broken a rule somewhere along the line. Which rule I have no idea..... All I do is blog a few recipes, connect with a few blog challenges, offer my views on an occasional gluten free product and share a little wisdom and insight into my free from life. Has anyone seen me do anything else?

It seems it is not an unusual thing to have such a calamity and if you search the net, there are lots of similar stories. My problem is that I am not particularly technically minded and can't make head or tail of any of the advice being offered. I seem to be able to find no means of connecting with Google direct to ask whether or why I may have been deleted and the whole episode has resulted in my feeling very disheartened and quite demotivated.

This little blog of mine may not be my business, but I have spent time building it up and am proud of what I have achieved and shared. To be expelled from the club feels harsh and incomprehensible and if I am honest, I simply cannot fathom it.

With the absence of direct links to my own blog on Google, I have also found that another 'blog' called The Gluten-Free Alchemist has appeared. Subtly different title (it just adds a hyphen), with no posts and no content.... It seems a little odd that it has snuck on in my wake...... coincidence? I hope not!

So if anyone out there has any wisdom you can offer, please please get in touch!

Feeling pretty down, I figure pie is a good way to go. I know its been hot, but sometimes comfort food is in order, regardless of the weather and this is one of those times.

I've made this pie a few times now and we love it in our house. The pastry is my favourite gluten free almond pastry, which gives a crisp, short case to the generous, moist, meaty filling. Succulent pieces of chicken breast and little bites of salty bacon mingle with the sweetness of peas and sweetcorn, the aromatic aniseed-flavour of fresh tarragon and a perfectly-seasoned cheese sauce.

I'm pretty pleased with my decorated top to the pie case too. It's amazing how well a few hearts cover up imperfections in the rolling......

I am sharing this lovely, comforting and very delicious pie with the following :

Firstly with Lucy over at Supergolden Bakes who is hosting her very last round of Cook Blog Share. I have loved linking up with Lucy's challenge and am so sad that she is giving it up. She has been a wonderful host! She is also such an incredibly talented blogger, that I am certain I will be following her kitchen antics regularly.

Lucy will be handing the Cook Blog Share reins over to someone else for the future (we don't know who yet), so we won't lose the opportunity to link up and I am sure that whoever takes over will do a great job!

Next : Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too.

Free From Fridays this week with Vicki the Free From Fairy as well as Emma from the Free From Farmhouse. Emma is welcoming a new baby into the world so is pretty busy right now!

Chicken & Tarragon Pie (makes 1 x 23 cm/9 inch pie)


Pastry :
195g brown rice flour
75g corn flour
60g ground almonds
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
165g unsalted butter - cold & cubed
2 large eggs - lightly beaten
1½ tablespoons cold water

Pie Filling :
olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) for frying
3 large (or 4 small) chicken breasts - de-skinned & cut into cubes
6 rashers of back bacon - cut into small pieces
100g sweetcorn kernels
100g peas
30g butter
30g corn flour
280 ml milk
2 teaspoons GF vegetable bouillon powder
100g mature cheddar cheese - grated
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon - chopped
a good pinch/grind of black pepper
1 egg to glaze

Method You can make the pastry either before or after the filling, but the filling will need to be cool before putting in the pie case.

Pastry : Dough Method - by hand

  1. Weigh the flours, almonds, xanthan gum and salt into a large bowl and stir.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and then pour into the crumb mixture.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the crumb mixture using a table knife until it begins to clump together.
  5. Bring the dough together with your hands and press into a ball. Knead very briefly to ensure ingredients are fully amalgamated.

By food processor

  1. Weigh the flours, almonds, xanthan gum and salt into the food processor bowl and pulse briefly to  mix together and remove any lumps.
  2. Add the cubed butter to the mixture and pulse again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and then pour into the food processor with the crumb mixture.
  4. Turn the processor on and mix until the ingredients form a smooth dough. This will not require any further kneading. 
The pie
  1. You will want to roll the pastry out straight away (do not chill in the fridge), using a liberal dusting of corn flour on the work surface and top of the dough/rolling pin to prevent any sticking. Cut off two-thirds of the dough for the base of the pie and wrap the other third in cling film to prevent it drying out. Set aside. Alternatively, you can roll the pastry dough between 2 liberally floured pieces of cling film.
  2. Get ready a 9 inch/23 cm non-stick pie tin and roll out the first piece of pastry dough large enough to fill the base and sides of the pie tin.
  3. Carefully lay the rolled pastry over the tin with the support of the rolling pin and ease into the base, gently moulding into the sides of the tin. Make sure you leave a slight overhang at the edges as you will need this to stick to the lid.
  4. If there are any cracks or holes in the pastry base, use the trimmed remains to 'repair'. - Roll and trim to size, and using cold water, dampen both the area around the crack/hole and the down-side of the 'patch' and gently press together, smoothing the edges with a finger dipped in water to seal and tidy.
  5. Place the pastry base in the fridge to chill until ready to fill.
  6. Filling : In a large saucepan or skillet, heat the olive oil and gently fry the chicken and bacon pieces until cooked through.
  7. Add the sweetcorn and peas and stir through. Cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes and then remove from the pan and drain any excess liquid. Set the chicken mixture aside.
  8. In a large saucepan (you can use the same one), melt the butter and stir in the flour, allowing to cook on the hob for a couple of minutes. This is the start of your roux sauce.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk a little at a time until all the milk is added and you have a smooth liquid.
  10. Place the pan back on a low heat and stirring continuously, gradually bring to the boil. You should end up with a smooth, thick sauce base.
  11. Add the bouillon powder, grated cheese, tarragon and black pepper and stir through until the cheese is melted and all the ingredients are well combined.
  12. Return the chicken mixture to the pan with the sauce and stir through. If it seems too thick at this stage, add a little more milk and stir, but be careful to ensure the filling remains sturdy as you don't want the pie to become soggy with liquid.
  13. Cool the filling as quickly as you can (stir frequently) and then pour into the pie base.
  14. Roll out the last third of pastry dough so that it is slightly larger than the pie dish. 
  15. Using a pastry brush and some cold water, brush the overhanging edge of pastry in the base and carefully place the newly rolled pastry dough over the top of the pie.
  16. Seal the edges by pressing together with your fingers or a fork.
  17. If you have any cracks or messy bits, you can cover these with pastry cut out into shapes. I used pastry hearts to decorate, but they also nicely covered the messy bits.
  18. Cut three or four small slits or holes in the top of the pastry to let the steam out when cooking.
  19. Place the pie in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour before baking.
  20. Beat the remaining egg with a fork and brush onto the top of the pie to glaze.
  21. Heat the oven to 190 C/375 F/Gas 5 and bake the pie for about 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and piping hot.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated


  1. Oh Kate, I am so so sorry. I wish I could offer you some help but it makes me feel sick thinking that something like this has happened to you (and could happen to any of us). Are there any ways to contact Blogger since I notice you use them? Perhaps this is the opportunity to move over to Wordpress self hosted where you own the website, rather than Google owning it? It is pretty easy. I migrated over to took time but it is ok and everything comes over. If you want to think about it I am happy to have my number!

    Anyway, on to the pie! Wowzers. It looks completely delicious! I wish my kids liked pastry (especially since my first book is going to be GF/DF pastry!). They like sweet pastries but not savoury things. Boo...cos this looks incredible!

    There will be a golden lining to the situation you are in...I am sure things will work out for the best. Just shout if I can help in any way. Thanks for linking to #freefromfridays!

    1. Hi Vicki. Thanks for your support. I really appreciate it! Losing my google status really stressed me out..... Then I just got angry and annoyed......with Google! Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't appear to have much of a help set up any more and I felt at a bit of a loss knowing what to do! But you are right..... It may well be time to consider Wordpress!
      I cleared all the broken links and a small amount of duplicated text (which was a post cross referenced with a separate page), set up Google to recrawl the site at the start of last week and tweeted google with a 'help me' moan....... Not sure which bit was relevant, but low and behold, the site reappeared on Google this morning! Maybe I am more technically able than I thought, or maybe google checked it out on my behalf...... Either way, I am mighty relieved! One less thing to worry about....
      Such a shame your kids don't like pastry...... xx

  2. That is so frustrating! I wish I could help but like you I'm no techy. I still have links to my blog but I can't get my google page rank above 0 so I know my situation isn't as bad as yours. I can't figure out what I've done either. If I find anything out though I will let you know.

    I hope you can take a small comfort in how delicious that pie looks. I love your photographs - the first one looks particularly professional. Seeing the one with a slice to the side has made me want it for my lunch but no such luck today. All the different colours being visible is beautiful.

    1. Hi Laura. Thanks for your support. The whole episode was very strange and I was quite surprised at how much it upset me. As you will see from my reply to Vicki above, I made a few checks and changes and it seems to have been re-connected this morning. Phew!!! I will be checking its status more frequently from now on..... just in case.....
      Glad you liked the look of the pie.... it was very delicious!

  3. Your pie looks beautiful - google is crazy not to have it on their search because you have such a great useful gf blogs - I recommend it to people looking for gf recipes and as you saw with my latest post I love the recipes whether for GF or other diets!

    I wish I could help with the technical stuff - have you put a query on the blogger help forums and checked if there are others who have sorted it out. There are lots of technical stuff I wish I could fix on my blog but only slowly get through any of it. The other GF Alchemist blog sound odd and I would wonder if that is too similar and has thrown you off - I have read that if your blog seems to be copying others that it can be taken off google. (sorry that is pretty vague as is my memory but if it is I have some useful links on that sort of thing on my blogging resources page). Do you have a friendly IT person at work - that has helped me in the past with tricky questions?

    1. Thanks for your support Joanna. And for your kind comments about the blog and its recommendation to others..... I really appreciate it.
      Weirdly, the site reappeared on Google this morning..... Having spent hours trying to research possible issues I made a couple of checks to content and tweeted google in the hope that they may check it out for me. Not sure what helped, but fingers crossed, I have been allowed back in the gang! I did check out with a couple of IT savvy friends, but we were all a bit flummoxed. I was getting to the point of resigning myself to the need to pay someone to have a deeper look.....
      On the pie front...... It has had loads of views, so something is still working. Mind you.... it was delicious!

    2. Pleased to hear you are back in the gang - you deserve to be - a bit frustrating that you are still not quite sure what worked. I was thrown off commenting on wordpress a while back and got some advice to contact them and I did and it sorted it out so maybe the big sites do listen!

  4. I noticed that site with a name like yours in the last couple of weeks. It does seems odd that it is there replacing you altogether.
    As you are putting so much time and effort on your blog I would pay a developer to help you out. You could ask for a quote and it might not be so expensive. They would certainly be able to help out and at least figure out the reason of why this has happened to you.
    It could be a virus that has hijacked your site or as Johanna suggested a "copy" fraud. Do not despair there is always a solution to everything. Last year I had huge trouble with my blog and had to close it down for 2 months. Now I am back and running again. I really did think that was the end of my blog but then a solution came up at the right time.
    Do not stop blogging, you are creating amazing things and your photos are great. There will be a solution. All the best xxx

    1. Thank you for your support Alida. It is reassuring that things sort themselves one way or another in the end and I will definitely be finding myself a helpful techy to advise!
      Although I still have no idea why the site disappeared, I made a few updates based on my research and tweeted Google with a help message! The site has reappeared as of yesterday, much to my relief (although I have no idea whether anything I did made any difference). It was all very confusing and not knowing why was the worst bit, because it was hard to know what to address!
      For now though....... Back in business..... Yay!!
      The pie tasted good though.....

    2. Fantastic!! I am really pleased for you. Perhaps tweeting google did the trick! xx

  5. You can't beat a delicious chicken pie, it looks stunning. I did notice what happened to your blog as I was searching for it the other week and couldn't find you. I ended up getting here from a link on my blog! I'm glad it's all been resolved now, but that is scary and very confusing.

    1. Thanks Kat. The pie was so good and I am greatly relieved that the google-problem has been sorted! It was pretty scary and quite demotivating. My stats dropped sharply which shows the power of particular search engines I guess!


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