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!

 

 

 

 

 

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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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

 

 

 

My review of Deliciously Ella’s sweet potato Brownies

I recently had a go at making some sweet potato brownies. I used Deliciously Ella’s recipe from her book

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Click here for recipe Sweet Potato Brownies and video

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I was intrigued to make these as I know they are one of the most popular recipes from Deliciously Ella

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steamed sweet potato along with dates are the main ingredients

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dates and cooked sweet potato are blended together

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ready to bake

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once cooled the brownies can be cut into squares

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The Brownies were dense and semi sweet, perfect for an afternoon treat. The brownies do contain some gluten free flour so they are not grain free.

If you expect them to taste exactly like a highly sugar filled chocolate brownie you will be disappointed, these are definitely a healthy version with no refined sugar. If like me you are avoiding all refined sugar then they satisfy that sweet craving.

I’m sure I will make them again as they were very easy to make and I like the idea of using sweet potatoes in baking.

They were enjoyed by friends and family and my husband even served them up at a business meeting.

Follow @deliciouslyella  < here 

Facebook  Deliciously Ella < here

Deliciously Ella website jam packed with recipes

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.