Grain free Easter fruit cake

The perfect Easter cake for those not keen on Simnel cake the traditional Easter cake made with marzipan .

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If you miss Simnel cake and are living grain free, you could use this recipe and add a thin layer of golden marzipan to add to the centre of the cake mixture about 1/3  and then once baked and cooled add warmed apricot jam and a top layer of marzipan, crimp the edges and use the remaining to make 11 balls to place around the edge on the top. This can be brushed with beaten egg and popped under a hot grill for a moment. A good alternative to a traditional Simnel cake.

This really is a treat cake packed with lots of dried fruit, high in sugar but for a special celebration cake this is perfect and I think it will become a new tradition in my home.

You will need

140g raisins/sultanas

30g chopped dried apricots

80g chopped dried cherries

80g pitted finely chopped medjool dates

130g ground almonds

100g finely chopped walnuts

1 heaped tsp mixed spice

zest of one orange

1/2 heaped tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp squeezed orange juice

15g coconut sugar

4 large eggs

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

Method

Mix all the dry ingredients together and the fruit

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add the coconut oil, beaten eggs, orange juice

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mix well

line a loaf tin or round tin with greaseproof paper

spoon in the cake mixture

sprinkle a little coconut sugar on top

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bake for 40mins in pre heated fan oven 170c

Allow to cool

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remove from the tin and continue to cool on a wire rack

decorate with mini Easter eggs or leave as it is .

This cake freezes well.

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Happy Easter  x

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

Grain free chocolate brownies

I have been looking around for a grain free chocolate brownie recipe. I’m trying very hard to stay grain free, I find I stay almost symptom free this way. There are plenty of gluten free recipes but I wanted something with no grains just nuts and if possible no refined sugar. I still need sweet treats !

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I came across a recipe from Elana’s Pantry. New York Times best selling author . I use many of her delicious recipes .

Here is her recipe for  Paleo Brownies there are lots more recipes on her website Alana’s Pantry

follow her on Twitter @elanaspantry

I liked the recipe but wanted to change a few things

Grain free Chocolate Brownies

100g ground almonds

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

110g gluten free dark chocolate I used 85% Green & Blacks

12 medjool dates

3 large eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil

to decorate

walnut pieces

assorted gluten free dark chocolate drops I used Sainsbury taste the difference dark chocolate drops and Montezuma dark chocolate buttons

 

Method

Firstly I soaked the dates in coffee, you could just use boiling water

make sure the stones have been removed

I put the ground almonds, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a processor

then I added squares of the chocolate into the ground almonds etc and processed until fine power

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I drained the dates and added them to the food processor

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whizzed up the mixture again until smooth with the other ingredients

added the coconut oil , soften slightly if very hard

processed again

added the 3 beaten eggs whizz up again

check everything is well mixed together using a palette knife

The batter should not be to thick

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I spooned the batter in to a 8×8 prepared tin

decorated with chocolate buttons and drops and walnut pieces

pressed the chocolate and walnuts down slightly

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popped in the oven 170c for about 20 -22 mins

until cracks appear on the top.

 

leave to cool for as long as you are able!

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cut into squares and enjoy.

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these are not a healthy treat as they are still high in fructose from the dates and small amount of sugar in the dark chocolate.

But we all need a sweet treat sometimes.

The brownies were dense and delicious not crumbly or overly sweet. its along time since i’ve eating a regular gluten filled brownie so I can’t compare. I certainly prefer the sweetness level of these treats to a gluten free sugar filled version. Although I might add even more chocolate buttons next time.

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Enjoy!

 

 

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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Living with Autoimmune diseases

If you have been reading my blog for a while or following me on Twitter you will know that I live gluten free, and as much as possible grain free and refined sugar free. My diet is like this due to the fact that I have not one, but three autoimmune diseases. Crohns disease ( A long term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system ) which is an Inflammatory bowel disease and Litchen Sclerosus LS ( a skin disorder ) both diagnosed a couple of years ago and Coeliac disease ( causes inflammation of the lining of the small intestine when gluten is ingested ) while not officially diagnosed I have been told by my Gastro specialist that I have classic coeliac history and due to the fact that I have been gluten free for about 7 years now and my reaction to glutening is so extreme he would not suggest going back to eating gluten . I have had a endoscopy recently and all is looking fine which is good to know. The many years of eating gluten has left me with what some describe as a leaky gut which means my body struggles to absorb nutrients but also absorbs and is easily susceptible to inflamation both in the stomach and bowels but also in joints. Difficulty in walking up stairs etc when having a flare up.

After a couple of weeks recently which were very stressful I am now faced with the after shock . This is something that I don’t feel I have experienced in quite this way before. I think new knowledge means I am more aware of the symptoms these days. Aching painful joints primarily for me, knees and wrists. Lack of energy and fatigue. Brain fog to a worrying degree especially my short term memory. The one thing this time is that I haven’t experienced stomach gut problems to the level I normally do, For this I am very grateful for. I’m sure my diet has been a contributing factor. Avoiding grains, refined sugar and vegetable oil and processed foods seems to have made a huge difference. I also have a high good fat diet like coconut oil and butter and low carbohydrates especially avoiding white potatoes and white rice.

 

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I’ve not been in such a stressful place for many years and I have been shocked as to just quite how it has played havoc with symptoms of my autoimmune diseases. I am determined to get myself back on track quickly. Like most people I feel guilty if I sit down and relax and am always finding things to do. I think I am going to have to learn to take time for myself and give my body time to heal.

As yet I have not found a general practitioner, gastro specialist or specialist nurse who will give me more than 3 minutes of their time. It appears, and I have been told I have to do my own home work on the subject. I have up to now refused medication for my gut as I am so far able to control it with a very healthy diet.

My Family are very supportive and understanding our family home is 100% gluten free and eating out choices are far more reduced when eating out together due to being gluten free and my multitude of food intolerances. It also effects holiday choices, I would love to be able to be far more adventurous than I am.

My faith gives me enormous strength  and Church family are very supportive. I know the prayer support I receive helps a great deal.

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I have much to be very grateful for. A loving husband, family and friends and a strong determination to keep on top of these health issues. I Will do whatever it takes to stay well and happy.

It isn’t easy to share such personal information, but I hope it helps others in the same position. Often things you read about Autoimmune diseases on the internet are frightening and worrying.  I would be very interested to hear from others with multiple autoimmune disease and how you cope and any advice you may have ?

Eat well , keep healthy, focus on the positive things in your life !

 

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

 

 

 

Pastry week tonight on Great British Bake Off

Tonight’s Bake Off episode is Pastry week The contestants will be asked to bake a frangipane tart, a cheese filled pastry from Cyprus and classic 70’s canapé vol- au-vents.

 

Here are a few gluten free ideas for you to bake along later

Gluten free Bakewell tart < click here for recipe

 

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Gluten free Cheese tartlets  <click here for recipe

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Gluten free sausage rolls < click here for recipe

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and a Grain free Quiche < click here for recipe

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Gluten free chicken pie < click here for recipe

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Gluten free Puff pastry < click here for recipe

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Enjoy tonights episode, why not bake something ready to eat along with tonights Pastry week ?