Black Forest Gateau

Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Recently I was sent some fabulous products from Holland & Barrett and they inspired a lovely #GBBO gluten free Black Forest Gateau. It was a huge hit in this household and was pretty easy to make!

Black Forest Gateau


5 eggs, separated
150 g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
125 g gluten-free flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder (we used ChocChic's fabulous powder)
700 ml whipping cream
2 x 390 g jars black cherries in kirsch, drained
150 g dark chocolate, shaved (Cocoa Libre dairy free)

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3. Line the bottom of a 22cm springform tin with baking paper. Beat the egg whites and 3 tbsp cold water until forming stiff peaks, gradually adding the sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Sift in the flour and cocoa and mix in. Spoon into the tin and smooth out. Bake for 30-35 mins, until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool.

2. Turn out of the tin and peel off the baking paper. Cut horizontally into 3 equal pieces, by inserting a knife into the centre and rotating the cake around it. Place the bottom cake on a cake plate and place a cake ring around it.

3. Whip 350ml cream with 1 tsp vanilla extract until forming stiff peaks. Spread half over the bottom cake. Set aside 12 cherries to decorate, and distribute half the remainder over the cream. Press the second cake gently on top. Spread with the remaining whipped cream and cherries. Press the last cake gently on top. Chill for 30 mins.

4. Whip 350ml cream until forming stiff peaks and spoon half into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Remove the cake ring and spread the top and sides with the remaining cream. Stick two-thirds of the chocolate shavings around the edge.

5. Pipe 12 swirls of cream around the cake and top with the reserved cherries. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate over the top. Chill for 20 mins.

Coori - delicious artisan free from food to your door

Monday, 31 August 2015

Before going gluten free we ate quite a lot of pasta, I find it quick and easy to throw together a sauce while the pasta water is boiling, so I am always on the lookout for really nice gluten free pasta. Something I particularly miss is filled fresh tortellini, as gluten filled versions used to be a good quick dinner.

Gluten free pasta can be a bit hit and miss, sometimes I find it a bit granular, other brands can be too slimy, and some seem to go from perfect to complete mush while I'm finding something to drain it in. So when Coori offered me one of their subscription boxes of products to try, and I saw FRESH gluten free pasta on their website, I could not wait for the box to arrive.

You can opt for a monthly (32 items) or weekly box (12 items), and you can just opt for a mix tailored to your dietary requirements, or specify the mix you would like with a fully custom subscription. You can also just shop online and pick your items if you prefer, delivery is free over £50, or just £5 otherwise.

My box contained the following products (some of which you can see here!):

Bronze Die Fuselli
Coori Parppadella
Corn Cous Cous
Salted Bread Sticks (Grissini)
Magic Pillow Cereal (Like Kellogg's krave!)
Soft Burger Buns
Gluten Free Bread Mix
Chicken Pie
Cheese and Onion Pie
Steak and Gravy Pie
Potato Gnocchi
Tortellini with Ham and Cheese
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli
Hazelnut Biscotti
Happy Pop Rice and Corn Puffs
Chocolate Cookies
Ladies Fingers / Sponge Fingers
Vegan Bolognaise Sauce (not on the website right now)
Mini Pizza Bases
Apple and Rice Snack Bars
Chocolate Filled Snack Bars
Vegan Mayonnaise

In my box also came some recipe cards to help me cook with the products provided. The box is large and well packed, with the fresh items in a foil bubble lined envelope to keep them cool.

I have now eaten all these products, and it took a fair while to get through them all, they lasted us well beyond a month! They are all excellent, but some of the products are truly exceptional. The pasta was the best gluten free pasta I have tried, and I will be ordering more. The Parpadella is beautiful thick ribbons of pasta, it cooked perfectly and tasted really lovely and buttery. The filled pasta is delicious, cooks quickly, and doesn't go at all mushy. I enjoyed both of the flavours, and they are good enough to serve up with just a simple sage butter and parmesan.

Other stars in the box were the grissini, which I ate at my desk and before I knew it I had eaten quite a few. The delicious little hazelnut biscotti went the same way, nibbled on till they were all gone, and dipped in my coffee.

My five year old REALLY enjoyed the 'Magic Pillows' which are like Kellogg's Krave cereal. Tescos has also released a GF version of this cereal, but they put gluten free oats in theirs which myself and my son cannot tolerate.  This version is just rice and maze, and at times my son ate these without milk as a little snack, I might have snaffled a few too as they are yummy. I put the snack bars in his packed lunch, the chocolate filled one is not within the pack lunch rules but snuck through the radar, and the packets all came home empty.

 The pies are great, I ate those for lunch one by one. Easy to reheat and unlike other GF pies on the market the fillings were made with quality ingredients.Just the right size for one, with some veg on the side.

The coucous was interesting, the corn taste is quite strong, but if you like corn natchos then the flavour is similar and was very good jazzed up with some Moroccan roasted veg and spices.

In summary, I will be ordering the dry and fresh pasta, some of the lovely biscuits and also some other things I have spotted on the site like profiteroles! I am confident that based on the products that were sent to me, the items on the Coori site are very high quality and hand picked. These are not just it-will-have-to-do gluten free supermarket substitutions, they are high quality free from artisan products.

The Coori own products are also really nicely packaged, and they would make a great gift for someone gluten free. I think a nice box of the lovely pasta and biscuits would make a great gift for a gluten free friend.

And.... soon they will be releasing a gluten free pannetone, which I can't wait for, it's going to be a good gluten free Christmas with Coori around.

Shop online here (before I buy all the fresh pasta!):

Afternoon Tea

Sunday, 26 July 2015
During Wimbledon we were kindly sent a gorgeous hamper of goodies to create our own afternoon tea! As you know if you go out for a gluten free afternoon tea the scones tend to be dry and the food just a little more tastier than cardboard. But to make it yourself must take hours surely?
Well actually not. We whisked up the gorgeous tea below in half an hour….

We used Bobs Red Mill Gluten free flour, House of the Rising Bun Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Mix (has a fabulous zing in the icing!), Sharaf Falafel Mix Original (boys love falafel) and of course the ever faithful Mrs Crimbles Gluten Free Macaroons. All from Holland and Barrett and a small percentage of the price of going out.

The recipe that we use for scones is Jamie Olivers simple scone, just scrummy!
Fluffy gluten-free scones
Makes 8
·         1 cup gluten-free plain flour ¼ cup white rice flour (we tend to just use 1 and ½ cups)
·         2 teaspoons baking powder
·         ¼ cup almond meal
·         a good pinch of sea salt
·         60ml cream
·         125ml milk, plus a little extra for brushing
·         strawberry jam, to serve
·         whipped cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 220°C/440°F/gas 7 and line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the flours, baking powder, almond meal and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre. Combine the cream and milk then pourin to the well and mix just until the dough comes together. Pat the dough out on a lightly floured surface and use a lightly floured round cutter to cut rounds out of the dough. Place the rounds touching each other into the lined baking tray, lightly the brush the tops with milk and bake for 10 minutes, or until risen and golden. Break in half whilst warm and serve with fruit spread and whipped cream.

Coggings & Co - Brighton

Tuesday, 21 July 2015
Recently we went down to Brighton on a weekend adventure. Being gluten free as you know you have to plan in advance the food side of business. Certain business we tend to avoid as you just know they won’t have a gluten free option or if they did it would be a jacket potato. Normally if I saw a restaurant specialising in burgers we would past. There is the bun to worry about, the stuffing in the meat, cross contamination etc. However we were recommended by another friend to call up Coggings & co in Brighton as one of our stops. Originally this was supposed to be included in a much larger review about Brighton and gluten free Brighton but the experience and food were so outstanding we had to give it a review on its own!

They very kindly offered us a meal to review and wow were we blown away! They are a fabulous gastro restaurant serving local ingredients hand sourced and prepared with skill and with just amazing customer service. It’s a wonderful ethos and the products they have chosen are the best of local outstanding produce. An example of this the beef which is ground daily!

As soon as we arrived we were greeted straight away (as were all other guests during our meal) and were given water and asked for our drinks order if wanted immediately. No being left for 20 mins! I was amazed that regardless of how busy they appeared the staff had time for you, never made you feel rush and the wait for food was minimal. The menu has a wonderful range including some incredibly scrummy looking vegetarian options.

The specials were great with a meat and a vegetarian option and we were incredibly impressed with the childs menu too.  £6.50 for a drink, burger with salad and chips or pasta followed but an ice cream. Pretty good hey? A huge range of the burgers on the menu are made gluten free naturally so there is no need to miss out on any of the varieties. We couldn’t wait to sink into a nice juicy burger. It’s one of the things we’ve really missed being gluten free! Needless to say Coggings & co did not disappoint. A very short wait and our burgers arrived served on lovely wooden boards and boy did the burgers look amazing!
The gluten free bun was amazing! It’s very rare for me to find a bun and not think it’s too dry or crumbly but this was really spot on! It’s a long time since we enjoyed a meal so much. The desserts are mouth-watering and the chocolate torte was just an amazing end to the meal.

Do visit! The food was exceptional as was the service we received. A full five out of five stars! 

Gluten Free Cheesecake Brownie Muffin Things!

Thursday, 4 June 2015
A friend once made me this amazing tray of gluten free brownies with a cheesecake topping. They were super yummy and really squidgy, which can be rare for gluten free cake. So when I got a packet of Delicious Alchemy Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie mix out of the cupboard the other day I thought of that lovely brownie/cheesecake thingy, and decided to make my own using the mix.

So I mixed up the brownie batter using the mix instructions, which was very simple, and then blobbed this into some muffin cases. I didn't want to fill them right up, so spread the mix between 18 large muffin cases, which filled them all about two thirds full.

Next I made my cheesecake mix. I used one 300gms tub of cream cheese, one egg yolk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 3 large tablespoons of caster sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Wizzed it all up till well mixed (don't mix for ages or it will go runny, a quick wizz to combine is all it takes) and then blobbed this onto each case of brownie mix. Gave the two a swirl together and then in the oven for 20 mins (2 mins less than the packet mix said) at the same oven temp as the packet suggested.

When they come out of the oven they will be wobbly, so cool on a rack and then in the fridge to get the cheesecake mix to set. This will make the brownie part a bit denser from being chilled, but I like my brownies that way.

I think these would be great with some fresh raspberries folded into the cheesecake mix maybe. The fresh fruit wetness does make things take longer though. I will experiment next time, as I am certainly making these again.
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