Wishing you all a very happy ‘free from’ Christmas

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Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas, hoping you can all enjoy a gluten free or free from Christmas with your families and friends.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014!

Lots more recipes and reviews to come in the New Year

best wishes

Helen x

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Gluten free French apple tart

Yesterday I was searching for another pudding idea that I could make without adding refined sugar. Mr S requested a French apple tart so I searched the internet for a recipe that I could work with. It was no surprise that I ended up with a Mary Berry recipe. This is my refined sugar free version.

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French apple tart-

Pastry

250g gluten free plain flour

125g butter

3 egg yolks

filling-

90g Butter

1.5 kg cooking apples quartered, peeled and cut into chunks

3 tbsp water

6 tbsp no added sugar apricot jam ( I used st delfour )

grated zest of 1 lemon

topping-

375g eating apples

juice of lemon

6 tbsp no added sugar apricot jam

( if needed 1tbsp caster sugar. not necessary  )

Method –

Make the pastry

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Put flour in the bowl and rub in cubes of butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs

Add egg yolks and water

bring together to make a soft dough

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Put cling film underneath and on top of dough

roll out with rolling pin

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line flan tin with the help of the bottom layer of cling film

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pop flan in fridge to chill while you make the filling

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peel and chop cooking apples

put in saucepan with butter and water. Cook gently for about 20 mins

add the jam

pass through a sieve

add lemon zest

taste for sweetness, if not sweet enough add 1 more tbsp of jam.

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Put back in saucepan and cook over high heat stirring continually for about 15 mins until the apple has thickened slightly.

leave to cool

Bake flan blind using greaseproof paper and baking beans for 10-15 mins at 190c

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leave to cool

Pour puree apple into flan case and thin slices of eating apple, brush with lemon juice

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bake in hot oven 190c for 30 mins then glaze with warmed sieved apricot jam.

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this picture was taken before the apricot jam was added which gives it a lovely glossy finish.

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serve warm or cold with extra thick double cream.

Avoid ice cream as packed with sugar.

serves 8, or 6 hungry guests!

Happy gluten free baking

Gluten free and Paleo restaurant coming to London, soon!

Pure taste has been running a successful pop up restaurant in Haywards heath Sussex and is now hoping to open a restaurant in the centre of London in 2014. The driving force behind this venture is Holly Redman a nutritional therapist and freelance chef.

It will be the first Paleo and free from restaurant offering a fine dining experience. Specialising in gourmet gluten free food perfect for Coeliacs. I am very excited about this project and urge you to check out their kickstarter video Here 

I have already pledged £250 which means Mr S and I can attend the Pre launch party ( A three course meal for two with drinks and entertainment ), why not come and join us? This would be a great chance to meet up. There are plenty of different amounts you can pledge from as little as a fiver.

So if you are a Vegan, Vegetarian, Coeliac, someone living gluten free or on a Paleo diet this will be the place for you. Please get involved Just 8 days left!

Hope to see you there!

UPDATE – Since writing this blog post I am thrilled to report, Holly has achieved the required funds with the help of Kickstarter  , Watch this space for more information . Well done Holly!

New update –  booking lines are now open for Pure Taste restaurant .  Westbourne Grove London

click here to book  > Pure taste

follow on Twitter @ptrestaurants

Restaurant opens in December 2014

Website – puretasterestaurant.com

 

free from Gingerbread Angels

My favourite blog this year has to be from Deliciously Ella her recipes are free from gluten, dairy, sugar, meat and all refined and processed ingredients . Whilst I still like to eat meat and dairy I have found her videos and recipes very helpful and have inspired me to look at recipes and meals in a different way.

For Christmas I was looking for a gingerbread recipe that could be enjoyed by the whole family. Sure enough Ella had just the thing!

Recipe – Gingerbread men 

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Well worth checking out @deliciouslyella free from Christmas Dinner video

Twitter @deliciouslyella 

facebook DeliciouslyElla

My review of Gluten free baking and living At Home baking courses

I was thrilled to be asked to take part in road testing the new gluten free baking academy. A set of masterclasses which you can buy on line to download and follow in the comfort of your own kitchen or simple follow on your computer screen.

At present there are four master classes Bread, Scones, Pastry and Cake making costing £7.50 for one or better value £15 for all four.

Firstly I decided to make the vanilla cup cakes, the instructions were clear and reminded me of a comic strip style layout. Step by step photographs showing every stage of the make and bake. With clear ingredients written and photographed.

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Secondly I made the pastry following the instructions carefully I wished I had printed the pages out as I was making my lap top quite floury. So my tip is don’t do as I did, and print the pages out to make life easier. I was pleased with the pastry results and used mine to make a delicious quiche for supper tonight.

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Finally I made the cheesy scones now I am a big fan of cheese scones and love making them myself . So I did wonder how these would stack up. I was Interested when I saw that poppy seeds and gram flour were used, well I have to say they were very good. The master classes were easy to follow and would be particularly good for those who are nervous at the prospect of baking gluten free at home for the first time. Or for those who like to try using different flour mixes and getting new ideas to improve their baking skills.

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The brains behind Gluten free baking and living are Deborah and Ian Thackeray. Deborah is a Nutritionist and baker and Ian is a Coeliac both keen to help fellow Coeliacs and those living gluten free to find good recipes using various grains and seeds to make their bakes more nutritious. By using clear instructions and photographs they make gluten free baking easy to achieve at home.

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Deborah and Ian also run baking courses in Harrogate and London more details Here

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I really enjoyed all of the baking courses. very impressed with the pastry and scones, less so by the cake recipe but still not bad. But as a regular cake baker It wasn’t my favourite.

Would I pay for the courses? probably not, but that is because I have been baking for many years and I would say that I am probably not who Deborah and Ian are aiming the courses at. But if you are new to baking and need a little extra help these course are ideal. Making gluten free baking accessible to all.

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Happy gluten free baking!

on Twitter @glutenfreebaki1 

Eating gluten free at Art cafe, North Norfolk

On Sunday we took a drive over to Overstrand and Cromer. After walking for miles on the beach we needed somewhere to warm up and have some delicious lunch. I remembered about Art cafe which caters for gluten free and vegetarians. I had come across this lovely cafe in the summer, so we made are way to Glandford a beautiful hamlet in the Glaven valley. About 2 miles from Holt and Blakeney.

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Art cafe is North Norfolk’s only vegetarian restaurant, artisan cafe and art gallery, You will easily spot the cafe as its brightly coloured paintwork draws you over. Inside is a selection of local art and craft which is available to buy, further inside is the cosy restaurant with a wood burner to keep you warm and when we visited the interior was decorated with pretty christmas lights.

We settled down next to the wood burner after eyeing up all the cakes and breads on display. I quickly spotted a gluten free lemon polenta cake under a glass dome and some delicious looking bakewell slices.

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Mr S chose the chestnut and sage soup for his lunch and I went up to chat to the waitress about what they could make for me. Never easy as not only can I not have gluten, I cannot tolerate yeast (wine, vinegar ) and onions. The waitress kindly said she would go and talk to the chef who came out to chat to me straight away. He suggested maybe some grilled vegetables and a dahl and said If I was happy for him to surprise me he would go and see what he could create. It is very nice to find a chef who was happy to work around your food intolerances. I waited eagerly for my lunch.

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Our tea and coffee arrived and while we were waiting for lunch I had a wander around the art gallery, paintings, ceramics, handmade cushions etc

Very soon Mr S had his steaming hot chestnut and sage soup served with crusy slices of homemade bread and butter. you can have gluten free bread with your soup too.

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Then the chef brought out my amazing lunch of grilled halloumi with grilled aubergine in a tapas style dish, another full of a delicious dahl all served on a board with a gluten free popadom and some mango chutney.

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My lunch was one of the most exciting lunches I’ve had at a restaurant for a long while. Usually my lunch lacks flavour, In fact usually I have to just have a slice of cake as its often the only gluten free choice .This meal was bursting with different textures and spices. I will now be trying to copy this lunch at home.

Chef was keen to let me know that they could accommodate other dietary needs. They are open 7 days a week 10am – 4pm.

The only thing I would like to see improved upon would be to ensure any gluten free baked cakes, biscuits etc are covered and clearly away from any gluten filled products with a separate utensil for serving them.

If you are in North Norfolk I can recommend this very individual restaurant cafe and art gallery.

Well worth seeking out!