Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies

Saturday, 26 November 2011

These cookies are so good.  Don’t be fooled by the picture (my stupid oven slightly overcooked them).  So good are these cookies that I couldn’t stop eating them.  I almost got on my exercise bike because I had been stuffing so many... almost.  This would have involved removing washing which was hanging on said bike and then removing a thick layer of dust from the seat and handle bars, a work out in itself.  When I set out to make these cookies I wasn’t convinced they would work.  No butter, no sugar... could they really be considered cookies?  The result was a wholesome cookie with a chewy texture and delicious bursts of thick dark chocolate which worked wonderfully with the hazelnuts.  You also get to work out your aggression while making these cookies as you can bash up the chocolate with a rolling pin.  Just make sure it doesn’t fly everywhere like mine did. 

Recipe adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
Makes 20 – 24 cookies depending on size.
12 oz 340g mashed ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
60ml barely warmed extra virgin coconut oil
4.25oz 120g gluten free oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
2oz 60g ground almonds
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3.5oz 100g hazelnuts or other nut of your choice
6oz 170g dark chocolate chopped in to small chunks
75oz 20g quinoa pops
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180°C.  Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
In a mixing bowl or blender combine the bananas, vanilla and coconut oil (rather than mashing my bananas I just chucked them in the blender).  In another bowl mix together the oats, ground almonds, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.  Add the chocolate and hazelnuts followed by the quinoa pops and fold these in to the mixture.  Shape the mixture in to small balls about 1 heaped tablespoon in size and flatten to a cookie shape.  I left mine quite chunky.  Place on the baking sheets.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven, swapping the baking sheets from top to bottom half way through cooking.  Once the cookies are golden on top and bottom remove from the oven and place the cookies on a wire rack to cool.

A few of my favourite things

Friday, 18 November 2011

Beans on toast, when I first found out I was coeliac one of the first foods I checked for gluten was Heinz baked beans.  Enough said.  FYI the bread is home made.  Recipe soon.
Already dreaming of a gluten free version of this
Love this restaurant a safe haven for coeliacs, I’ll be back again soon.
Wish I’d found this before my last trip to Paris.  The terrifying speed of French waiters had me flummoxed.
On a favourite walk with my lovely husband, this tree.

And coffee with my Dad by the sea on a sunny day in September.

Have a good weekend.

Sort of Pizza but not exactly

Sunday, 13 November 2011

When you are first diagnosed with coeliac disease or find out you are gluten intolerant you start to run through the foods you aren’t going to be able to eat anymore.  Aside from the obvious things like bread, pizza is often pretty high on the list.  For me the hardship was not going out for pizza anymore.  I have learned to sit across from friends in a restaurant while they tuck in to pizza and I eat a salad without glaring at them enviously.  I have grown...but I have also forgotten what pizza tastes like.  Although in the cookery book this recipe calls itself pizza its really more pizza meets tart as the crust is made from pastry.  It still works pretty well to satisfy my pizza cravings.  Because it is essentially a pastry crust it is much heavier than normal pizza. Also it will crumble like all gluten free pastry.  It is imperfect or rustic as I like to call it but just go with it.  The result is delicious and can be eaten cold the next day.  This recipe serves 4 with salad or 2 on its own.

Recipe from Apple Tree Cafe Wheat and Gluten Free Recipes
Making the crust
200g rice flour
100g soya flour  *you can sub another flour here, I quite often use quinoa
150g margarine or butter
1 egg
Preheat the oven to gas mark 5, 190°C.  Sieve the flours into a bowl then rub in the margarine to make a breadcrumb like consistency.  Add the egg and mix together until the pastry begins to form.  You might have to knead it with your hands a little here.  Sprinkle a baking tray with rice flour then press the pasty into the tray to make your base.  Blind bake your pastry in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
Adding your toppings
Toppings of your choice.  I topped my pizza with roasted aubergine, courgette and red onion.
Mozzarella cheese sliced
2 large tomatoes sliced
Spread the passata over your pizza base then add the sliced tomato and mozarella.  Finish with the toppings of your choice.  Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top is golden brown.

Mini Scones!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

No it’s not summer, there are no strawberries and cream.  It’s grey outside and you just sat next to a man who smells on the train home from work.  But there are scones warm from the oven with butter and jam (not the homemade one, we ate that!) and on a cold, grey day that’s more than enough.  These scones are light and buttery, studded with sultanas they melt in the mouth.  Brew up your favourite tea (because you have to have tea with scones) and eat as many as you can allow yourself.

Slightly adapted from Healthy Gluten-free Eating by Darina Allen and Rosemary Kearney
275g/10oz brown rice flour
50g /2oz tapioca flour
4 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons organic golden caster sugar
110g/4oz butter diced
110g/4oz sultanas or other dried fruit
2 eggs
175ml/6fl oz natural yoghurt (I used sheep milk yoghurt)
Egg wash
Preheat the oven to gas mark 9, 250°C
Sift the dry ingredients in to a large bowl and mix well.  Add the butter and rub in to the flour to form breadcrumbs then add the dried fruit and gently fold in.  In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and yoghurt until well combined.  Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the egg and yoghurt mixture.  Combine to make a soft dough. 
Turn the dough out on to a rice floured surface and knead gently.  Shape the dough in to a round and roll out to about 2.5cm thick.  Using a 5cm cutter stamp out the scones and place them on a rice floured baking sheet.  Brush with egg wash.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown on top.  Move the scones to a wire rack to cool.  They are delicious warm or cold with butter and jam and a cup of tea.
Makes 15 to 18 scones.

Burgers and Bonfires

Friday, 4 November 2011

You may have guessed by now I’m not a big meat eater, I love my veggies and always have, even as a small child.  Except broad beans, I still can’t stand broad beans.  I’m always in search of a good veggie burger and I think I have found it in these quinoa burgers from 101 Cookbooks.  (I know quinoa again).  They are my current favourite thing to have for lunch at weekends.  They also keep really well so are great for packed lunches or if you are going to a firework display this weekend they’d make a good fireside snack.  I also made some sweet potato chips to go on the side. 
I made these just as Heidi’s recipe says.  The only thing I omitted was the toasted cumin and the baking powder but they still tasted so good.  For the bread crumbs I used gluten free bread.  Everything I have made from 101 Cookbooks and from Heidi’s book Super Natural Every Day has turned out perfectly.  You can find the recipe here

Sweet Potato Chips couldn’t be easier.  Simply peel, wash and cut your sweet potatoes in to long thin wedges.  Line a baking tray with baking paper, place the chips on top and drizzle with olive oil.  I also like to sprinkle some dried rosemary over the chips, the flavours go so well together.  Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes on Gas Mark 7, 220°C until crisp.  Don’t be tempted to make these without the baking paper as you may end up with soggy chips stuck to the tray and nobody wants to eat soggy chips by a bonfire no matter how good the fireworks are.
Enjoy your weekend!