Grain free Hot Cross Buns

This Easter I am determined to stay grain free through the festivities,  with this in mind I set about trying to make myself some Hot Cross Buns, for me an essential taste of Easter. Just to make this more tricky for myself I could not use yeast as I am intolerant to it.

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I decided to use Ugg chia seed and nut bread mix as my starting point and added spices and fruit to get as near to this classic as possible

1/2 pack – 175g of UGG Foods chia seed and nut bread mix ( I buy mine from natureshealthbox.co.uk  )

3 eggs separated whites and yolk

2 tbsp coconut oil ( I used Lucy bee )

1/2 pint almond milk

3 tbsp maple syrup

110g a mix of raisins, sultanas

1 tbsp chopped dried apricots

1  heaped tsp cinnamon

1 heaped tsp mixed spice

add more spice if you prefer

zest orange/lemon

 

low sugar Apricot jam for glaze

For the cross- 2 tsp coconut flour add water until you have a smooth paste

or use icing sugar

Method

I put the dry ingredients in a bowl

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I then beat the egg white until stiff peaks

I beat the egg yolks and added the maple syrup and melted coconut oil

then added them to the dry ingredients

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I mixed well and then folded in the egg whites

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This makes a very wet dough

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I sprinkled ground almonds on the surface

I used my hands to mould each bun shape

You should be able to make six hot cross buns

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I placed these on a baking tray with greaseproof paper

I found the cross the hardest to achieve. I mixed coconut flour and water until it formed a smooth paste. I used a icing syringe to make this cross.

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You could wait until the buns are baked and cooled and add pipped icing sugar to make a cross.

I put the buns in a pre heated fan oven 170c

for 30- 35mins

Straight out of the oven I brushed warmed sieved low sugar apricot jam over the buns

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I was quite pleased with the over all look , will try harder with the cross next time.

The taste was very close to I remembered, obviously the texture is slightly different. going to make another batch very soon.

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If you have any other ideas to make the cross do let me know

 

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Delicious as they are or toasted with plenty of butter.

Happy Baking!

 

 

 

 

 

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Review of Flaxseed buns from Hemsley & Hemsleys new book

Today I had a go at making a recipe from Hemsley and Hemsley’s new book Good and Simple.  The flaxseed buns really intrigued me , an unusual list of ingredients but all things I can eat. Not being able to tolerate regular gluten free buns and trying to avoid grains these looked perfect for me.

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I mixed the dry ingredients together then added the beaten eggs etc. Before my eyes I could see the mixture change after 5mins it had thickened up and was ready to mould into buns.

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I baked them for 20mins in a fan oven and they came out looking very like little bread rolls. I have to admit I had my doubts about these. But I was very pleasantly surprised . After cooling I cut one in half and filled it with salad and grated cheese.

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If I had a blind fold on, I don’t think I would have known that this was made from flaxseeds! Good bread like texture and not crumbly something that is often hard to find with gluten free bread.

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I will freeze the majority of these ready sliced and they will be perfect for a quick lunch.

definitely worth giving them ago especially if like me you are intolerant to gluten and yeast and avoid grains.

Flaxseeds are not a cheap ingredient ,but if you are grain free then I feel its worth spending the money .

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follow on twitter here @hemsleyhemsley 

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website hemsleyandhemsley.com

Natures health box sells flaxseeds for £3.19 for 200g or £4.99 for 425g

Holland and Barrett  425g are £5.99 offer buy one get one half price

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Norwich’s very own gluten free cafe and shop

Today we drove over to Norwich to visit The gluten free cafe and shop on Timber hill. We parked at the John Lewis car park but there are numerous places to park near the shop and cafe. The setting is perfect on a pretty street, one of the oldest recorded city streets in Norwich. Home to quirky shops , boutiques and beauty salons. Since January home to this exciting new enterprise from the Norfolk gluten free company. 

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I was blown away by the smartness and quality of the exterior and interior of the cafe and shop. Stepping into the busy cosy cafe I felt like a child in a sweet shop. To know that you can eat from the entire menu on the large black board was the most exciting thing ever. If  like me you have Coeliac disease or gluten intolerant  you will totally understand the wave of relief and calm you feel when you know you are safe to eat somewhere that is 100% gluten free with no worries of cross contamination. It offers a huge range of tasty savoury and sweet options for all the family including delicious looking soups and pies, quiches and ploughman’s. An enormous array of sweet treats from chocolate eclairs and muffins to beautiful cup cakes and flapjacks . You could have the biggest sugar high ! We all need a treat sometimes

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The staff were busy with lots of happy customers. Today Families , young couples and older people were sat around at tables drinking coffee and eating lunch. It was lovely to see the place so busy. We found a little table near the window where we could watch the world go by. I decided on hot cheesy balls with butter for lunch and Mr S choose a chicken pie with ploughman lunch, with coffee.

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After ordering at the counter I couldn’t resist a quick look upstairs at the gluten free shop where I was greeted by the lovely Louisa founder of the Norfolk gluten free company . I scanned the shelves full of everything you could possibly imagine, it really is like an Aladdin’s cave. I was beyond excited , far superior to a free from section in a supermarket. From an incredible selection of freshly baked bread goods from Wheat free bakery ( the best bread in my family’s opinion ) to pies and quiches and dry mixes , pasta’s, taco and wraps. Every gluten free flour, dough ball mix  I could go on.

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After doing a quick grab of goodies and paying upstairs I was down just in time for my Latte and hot yummy cheesy dough balls. These can be served with a selection of dips but I went for butter with mine. they were so scummy.

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With so many extra food intolerances I often find it difficult to order anything when I am out shopping. These were just what I needed. My husband was pleased with his flaky chicken pie packed with hearty pieces of chicken inside with a side salad, bread roll and cheese plus chutney, a feast.

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My coffee was so good I ordered a second and couldn’t resist a sweet treat.

 

IMG_9904 Its not often I can go out and order a pudding . After much thought I decided on the caramel choux bun and Mr S had a fruit and chocolate flap jack.

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I spotted some very pretty looking cup cakes made by the talented Imogen from Sugar buttons cakes so it would of been rude not to take one home for later . A toffee popcorn cupcake was popped into a little cake bag for me to enjoy later.

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Imogen made my son and daughter in law’s wedding cupcakes in August 2014 so I know just how good they are. As well as cup cakes Imogen makes the most stunning large gluten free Wedding cakes too, do check out her website Sugar buttons creative.

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Before I left I had one more quick look upstairs in the shop, It is a surprisingly good size space. So if you are in for a coffee don’t forget to take a look yourself. I choose some freshly baked bread to take home and some extra special chocolate hearts from Montezuma.

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The prices in the cafe and shop I thought were very fair and we will definitely return next time we are in Norwich armed with extra bags and more room in the freezer to take home lots of gluten free bread for the family.

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I do hope if you are in the Norwich area or visiting Norfolk this year you will make time to visit this fabulous cafe and shop. If we don’t support these brave enterprises they won’t survive . I would like to wish Louisa and her team all the very best for the future. I’m sure you have a real success on your hands. I could see just how much work must have gone into the last few months do get this venture off the ground in the centre of this beautiful city.

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You can find the Cafe and shop at the top Timber hill number 21 on the left hand side as you look down the hill.

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Website – Norfolk gluten free company

Twitter – @nklkglutenfree

 

My review of Deliciously Ella’s new book Every day

Needing some inspiration for new meals for 2016 I went out and bought a new cook book. I chose Deliciously Ella Every day, Ella’s second book is packed full of recipes. Breakfasts, healthy eating on the go, salads, easy weekday dinners and big batch cooking also a few simple sweets.

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The first recipe I tried was the gingerbread cookies these were very easy to make. I would definitely advise using as little extra flour as possible. Mine had a little too much flour on the biscuits once baked which didn’t taste nice. The biscuits themselves were nice, very plain which you can see by the photo in the book. I have to admit using some of mine to make chocolate refrigerator cake, oops. I would call these ‘biscuits’ rather than cookies as they are crisp and snap like a biscuit.

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The second recipe I chose was the maple chia pots. I thought this would be a new good breakfast alternative. They were easy to make and I popped them into the fridge to have the following day. I used a cleaned out Lucy bee coconut oil jar the perfect size. I found the maple chia pot had a pleasant creamy taste and just the right sweetness. Unfortunately I struggled with the texture and the look of the breakfast pot. A very gluppy gluey consistency I’m not sure I would make this again.

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For a change I thought I would try one of Ella’s vegan main meals in the batch cooking section. We normally tend to eat quite a lot of fish and meat. I halved the recipe which made enough for 3 large portions. Another simple recipe very easy to follow, Spiced sweet potato stew which was delicious. This went down well with Mr S so I will make this again. We had leftovers for supper with a few gluten free nachos.

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We had a family lunch yesterday the perfect occasion for a nice new pudding. I chose the chocolate ganache cake. Firstly I would say that this is a pudding more like fudge or a torte than cake. Very quick and easy to make the ingredients are definitely unusual for a cake . Avocados, cacao, chia seeds, maple syrup etc. I was shocked by the quantity of maple syrup in the cake. 15 tablespoons if you add the frosting, or 11 tbsp without frosting. I added the frosting which looked beautiful. The end result looked very nice but it wasn’t a hit with the family or myself. I definitely didn’t love it.  Even with the large amount of maple syrup it didn’t taste overly sweet ,some felt it had a bitter taste. More like a large slice of fudge but not as delicious ! and no better for you . I cut mine into 8 pieces but could have cut smaller slices as it was so rich.I think it is worth saying that this is no healthy for you than more regular sweet treats. Best in very thin slices served with cream.

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The next recipe I hope to try is the chick pea, quinoa and turmeric curry which looks good.

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The photographs in the book are lovely and most recipes have a photo of the finished dish or bake which I think is very important. The recipes so far have been easy to make. The cake recipe was very expensive to make but the spicy sweet potato stew is a good cheap vegan alternative for a meat free day.

I paid £10 for my book which was half price in WH Smiths. It is available every where, I even spotted it in Anthropology . Lots of deals to be had, so if you are keen to buy most places have it for half price.

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You can follow Deliciously Ella on Twitter @deliciouslyella

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Grain free Fruit cake ready for the Great British Bake Off

Tomorrows episode of The Great British Bake Off is inspired by Victorian baking. The contestants will be asked to make a Game pie for the signature bake and a fruit cake topped with sugar paste and marzipan. The show stopper is a Charlotte Russe

I was looking for an alternative Fruit cake that was refined sugar free and grain free. I found a delicious looking recipe from Elana’s Pantry   there are lots of amazing recipes on her website and her book, I have made many of them and can recommend you visit the website and check out her book the Gluten free Almond Flour cookbook   <click here to find out more . Its probably one of my most used cookery books !

I love to bake something that I  can eat along with Bake Off,  keeping it as healthy as possible and this fruit cake ticks that box

 

 

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This recipe is packed full of yummy dried fruit and the zest of both lemon and orange

 

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Click here for Elana’s delicious recipe > Fruit cake

I used

90g Raisins

100g dried cherries chopped

130g ground almonds

100g finely chopped walnuts

10g coconut sugar

80g chopped medjool pitted dates ( about 5 )

zest of 1 lemon

zest of 1 orange

4 large eggs

2 tbsp melted coconut oil ( I use Lucy Bee )

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp vanilla extract

I added

1 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Method

pre heat oven to 180c

prepare 2 small loaf tins

I mixed the almonds, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice, ground nutmeg and salt together

Then I added the dried fruit, chopped dates and walnuts and zest

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In a separate bowl and beat the eggs and added the vanilla extract coconut oil and coconut sugar

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I added these to the dry ingredients and mixed well

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spoon mixture in to the tins and bake for 25/30mins at 180c

cool on a wire rack

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This Fruit cake tastes amazing, I was thrilled with the result.  Grain free and very little added sugar. Remember dried fruit is already very high in natural sugar so this cake is still very much a treat food. I think this will become a family favourite.

find more recipes from Elana’s pantry here elanaspantry.com 

follow on Twitter @elanaspantry

Happy Baking!

 

For one large cake I used a large loaf tin and baked at 170c fan oven for about 45mins

 

 

 

A Free From Special on Bake Off tonight

Tonight on The Great British Bake Off the contestants will be asked to make a cake using an alternative to refined sugar . One contestant is making a pineapple upside down cake and another a carrot cake.

click here > Alternative ingredients 

The technical challenge is Paul’s gluten free pitta breads. It will be interesting to see how they get on with this tricky recipe. They are something I have not tried. Mainly due to the fact I can’t have yeast.

The Show stopper tonight is dairy free ice cream surrounded by jam and a light sponge.

I decided to make a Pineapple upside down cake that is not only gluten free but grain free and refined sugar free and dairy free too.

Pineapple Upside Down cake  grain free and dairy free

 

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100g coconut oil or unsalted butter

70g coconut sugar or maple syrup

4 large eggs

1/2 cup Almond milk or regular full fat milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g ground almonds

70g coconut flour

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

pinch salt

fresh pineapple

fresh cherries

Method

Pre heat oven 170c fan

prepare a loose bottomed cake tin

line with baking paper and fill the base with slices of pineapple,fresh sliced cherries a little coconut oil and a drizzle of maple syrup

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melt the coconut oil and mix with the coconut sugar or maple syrup

 

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add the 4 beaten eggs

in a second bowl mix together all the dry ingredients

Add the dry ingredients into the wet

mix well

add the vanilla extract and the almond milk

and mix well together

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spoon on top of the pineapple pieces

 

 

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bake in a hot oven 170c for 45 mins

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cool on a wire tray in the cake tin

 

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Here is a recipe for a gluten free Pineapple Upside Down cake

click here

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They were a real success !

Lets hope tonights episode is really good and inspires those who need to use alternative ingredients due to choice or intolerances or allergies to bake at home.

Fabulously Free From at The Big Feastival

Last weekend was a foodie and music lovers perfect Festival, The Big Feastival.

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Set in the gorgeous countryside of the Cotswolds at Alex James’s farm. Presented by Jamie Oliver and Blur’s Alex James with an amazing line up of chefs, cooks and musicians. Featuring the best street food and restaurant stalls as well as cooking classes and demos.

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I was attracted to the Big Feastival this year due to the addition of a Healthy Living Zone , added to highlight all the latest thinking on eating well and healthy. There was to be gluten free , grain free, paleo , raw stalls and demos with healthy eating pioneers including Hemsley and Hemsley and Deliciously Ella . I was thrilled to be accredited with a media pass and was determined to Max out my weekend finding out as much as I could for myself and my followers on twitter and Fabulously Free From.

 

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Our trip to Kingham in the Cotswolds on friday did not entirely go to plan. Our renovation project a Bambi Airstream was not as far advanced as we had thought so we spent an unexpected 5 hours waiting for it to be campsite ready! Once on the road we made good progress and arrived at Merry Weather campsite close to the Festival site , plenty of time to prepare for the two days ahead.

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Unfortunately due to the teething troubles with Betty the Airstream we missed out on friday afternoon and evening at the festival . I was desperately disappointed to have missed out on seeing at the Big Kitchen Monica Galleti, Nathan Outlaw and Richard Burr of bake off fame.

 

Saturday brought sunshine and light cloud desperate not to miss a thing we were up and out quickly after  homemade grain free fruit bread and a full english ready to take on the day. Only 14 mins from the Festival site we arrived just as gates were opening . There was no massive queues and parking was easy. We checked in and I quickly purchased an itinerary in the form of a programme on a lanyard.  I knew today was going to be quite a challenge to get around everyone I wanted to see.

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My main area was to be around the Healthy Living Zone and Big Kitchen thankfully the quietest part of the vast festival.

 

 

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Firstly I made my way to the Oatly Kitchen counter to hear Anna Jones.

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Here was to be the place I would be able to get up close to health food pioneers and chefs during the Feastival. Just a few tables and chairs set out in a rectangle covered by an open sided marquee with bright coloured deck chairs around the edge and a couple of bench seats. Very cosy and never overly busy.

Anna talked about her passion for healthy vegetarian food and about helping Jamie Oliver to write some of his books and how she had now written her own vegetarian recipe book.

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Following Anna was Ella Woodward better known as Delicious Ella. Ella talked about managing her illness by changing her diet dramatically to healthy eating including cutting gluten and refined sugar and vegetable oil.

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Admitted to being a sugar addict and advised using maple syrup etc with control and to find a balance. Ella’s top tip was to buy nuts and flour in bulk online. Deliciously Ella also talked about using coconut oil and olive oil in her cooking and baking and eating lots of good healthy fat especially her favourite avocados . I found her to be very honest and realistic . She summed up by saying she wanted to get vegetables in the centre of the plate.

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Following Ella I dashed over to the Big Kitchen a partly covered large stage with simple seating and extra tv screens to go and see Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley of Hemsley and Hemsley demonstrating a lime and avocado cheesecake and other healthy meals.

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The ladies talked lots about healthy fats including butter and coconut oil. They talked of their love of cabbage and bone broths. The Hemsley’s also encouraged the use of natural sugars instead of refined sugar but only in low quantities.

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Raw vegan blonde was next on the Oatly kichen counter art with fresh fruit and veg.

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I arrived at the end of this demonstration ready for Hemsley and Hemsley

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This really was a brilliant opportunity to see them and ask questions and hear more about their philosophy . In the slow cooker they had beef bone broth bubbling away and also the famous spiraliser for anyone to come and have a go with. They spoke about their book the Art of Living well, which I can recommend.

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The spiraliser was popular with the gathered crowd and a huge plate of courgetti in a pesto sauce was passed around the table to try. I had seen Jasmine and Melissa only a few weeks before in the literature tent at Latitude festival. But I have to say this was far better and easier for the ladies to demo properly.

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There was time for a Q&A and in such a small group worked really well. Their passion for not wasting food and using every part of the animal was good to hear. They talked of their love of saturated fat including dripping and butter, I was thrilled. Gelatine from chicken feet and bones also got a mention as well as encouraging everyone to watch the new Sugar film called That Sugar film! Probably my favourite Health pioneers at the Feastival.

Around the healthy living arena area was plenty of food to tuck into including Raw Press from London serving cold pressed juice and almond milk. I had the chocolate raw pressed almond milk which was very refreshing

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As I have so many additional intolerances as well as being intolerant to gluten I bulk baked before the festival and froze it all for our trip. Lunches and dinners for me were gluten free dough balls, grain free quiche lorraine , salad, cheese and fruit and water. If you were just gluten free there was many stalls offering gluten free options including raw press. there was also lots to sample from stalls like UGG Foods offering grain free bread and muffins to try and mix’s to buy

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UGG Foods stall was very popular with grain free mixes and testers

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Coconut merchant had coconut in almost every form from sugar and jam to oil

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Dried Kale looked tasty, sadly ran out of time to go back and buy some.

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The Primal Pantry were in the Healthy living zone offering tasters and their grain free bars for sale.

Deliciously Ella and Olivia Wollenburg were on the Big Kitchen stage demonstrating a chocolate orange brownie recipe a large crowd came to watch.

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Later at the Oatly kichen counter I heard Olivia Wollenburg talk about her line of crumbles Livia’s crumble part of Livia’s Kitchen. unfortunately the crumbles are not gluten free,  I think she is missing a great opportunity but she told me that it was not cost effective as 100 % dedicated gluten free factories are more expensive.

 

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On the Big Kitchen at 5.30 pm was Gennaro Contaldo this was a fun cooking demonstration followed by Jamie Oliver at 6.30pm as you can see I hadn’t left the Healthy Living Zone all day as there was so much to do. All this time there was music on three stages the Main stage, Udder stage and the Bandstand. Also BBQ demonstrations and even yoga

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As you would expect Jamie’s Big Kitchen demo was the most entertaining he also had a guest all the way from Brazil cooking steak on a BBQ on stage.

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It was difficult to get close as the crowds by now had grown enourmosly.

Earlier on the Main Stage had been Iris Gold, Johnny Borrell and Zazou , The Beach , Hudson Taylor and Grandmaster Flash

On the main stage that evening was Ella Eyre, Example and DJ Wire and the headliner was Dizzee Rascal

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Sunday brought a damp start but once again knowing that some of the speakers started early we were quickly on our way after a cooked breakfast with plenty of eggs and bacon to keep us going.

Natasha Corrett was first on the Big Kitchen stage demonstrating here recipe for a grain free quiche using cauliflower in the base. She urged everyone to keep your way of eating healthily sustainable. In her opinion 70% healthy 30% normal eating So as not to make the task to great to stick to.

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Natasha massaged kale with lemon juice to make it easier to eat in its raw form. She also used this in her quiche.

Next on was Joe Wicks The Body Coach I have to admit not knowing the name at all but he had a huge following mainly amongst the ladies.

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A star of the internet due to his 15 minute meals and new book called Lean in 15 . Joe chose to make a Thai green curry which looked good and then a turkey burger using lean turkey mince and a white processed burger roll, really not sure that was the best choice! He did though encourage the use of coconut oil and rubbished the old school pyramid way of eating.

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Emily Watkins was up next on the Big Kitchen Stage as the ran poured outside we stayed huddled under the stage over hang . Emily is a local chef who ‘s pub The Kingham plough is ranked in the Times top 25 pubs for food and two AA rosettes .  She made a delicious looking trifle

I had to leave Emily’s demo before the end to head back up to the Oatly kitchen counter for Adam Henson from the Cotswold farm park and Countryfile presenter final chat followed by

 

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Natasha Corrett Honestly Healthy a self  trained cook who encouraged the gathered crowd to avoid meat, dairy and sugar and to cut out processed food. She was asked during the Q&A what she couldn’t live without  food wise Nashasha answer was Lemons and avocados . The weather by now was not too nice and we were all tightly packed under the open sided marquee.

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I was very excited about the next speaker the very lovely and talented Raymond Blanc

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It was amazing to be so close and hear him talk with such passion about good local healthy food and the quality of british chefs, he teaches many of them! We heard all about his recent series on TV Kew on a plate and about seasonal fruit and vegetables and seasonality. He is also passionate about the environment and was very animated when speaking it was quite hard to take a photograph as he never sat still.

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Raymond was definitely the highlight of the weekend for me.

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Jamie Oliver was once again on the main stage but due to the sheer number of people watching we decided to take the opportunity to look around more of the festival.

The choice of food stalls was amazing, even for those who avoid gluten there was a good choice

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Some delicious pork belly cook on the BBQ

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corn on the cob

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Duck and seafood

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and sausages

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Here is a list of the gluten free stalls from my earlier blog post

There were also gluten free treats including

Ice lollies

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and cakes

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I preferred the healthy Paleo bars from Primal Joy Foods

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especially the grain free chocolate brownie

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lots to try and buy!

We sheltered under our umbrella to listen to Rae Morris who sounded amazing

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and then the weather started to improve

We watched Mabel Rogers on the Bandstand 

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and enjoyed a Rocktail

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After all the speakers it was time to relax!

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This festival is very family friendly with the best choice of food I have every seen at a festival. No wonder its called Feastival

It felt very much like an old fashioned English fair with fairground rides and independent local food stands Bales of hay to sit on

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and a helter skelter, bunting, fairy lights and balloons. Plus an enourmous live music stage with some big names over three days.

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There was so much to do I barely scratched the surface. I really focused on the Healthy Living Zone which I loved . The Feeling with Sophie Elis Bextor followed by Paloma Faith brought the Big Feastival to a grand finish. Even the earlier rain couldn’t dampen the festival goers spirits

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I’m sure we will be back next year for more tasty food, great music and interesting talks and demonstrations. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

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Follow The Big Feastival on Twitter @thebigfeastival

The website is TheBigFeastival.com

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Early bird tickets now available for next year Friday 26th – Sunday 28th August 2016

Update –

Tickets now available for Feastival 2016

2016 LINE UP SO FAR