Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies

I made these new cookies today, and as they were so delicious I wanted to share the recipe straight away.

I’ve eaten two already and they are not even cold , a crisp outside with a soft chocolatey and nutty inside . I hope you enjoy them too.

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Recipe –

100g ground almonds

2 tbsp coconut flour

2 tsp cacao

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips gluten free

1/4 cup maple syrup

70g melted unsalted butter

1 beaten large egg

Method

mix together all the dry ingredients

add the melted butter , maple syrup and beaten egg

stir together well

mould small balls of cookie dough and pop onto a lined baking sheet

bake in a pre heated oven 170c for 14 mins

cool on a wire rack

Enjoy !

 

 

 

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Simple gluten free banana bread

I always buy more bananas than I can eat before they start going brown and over ripe. So banana bread is a favourite to make, to use up this over soft extra sweet fruit.

Usually I make a grain free version for me, but this recipe is just gluten free and you would be hard pushed to tell this apart from its gluten filled version. Perfect for an afternoon sweet treat. I made this for my Son’s birthday

Recipe

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Banana bread

100g unsalted softened butter ( you could also use coconut oil  )

175g sugar ( I used Coconut sugar which I prefer )

2 large free range eggs

2 large over ripe Bananas

225g gluten free self raising flour ( I used Doves Farm )

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

2 tbsp milk ( I used almond milk )

Method

Really simple

pre heat oven fan 160c

I used a hand blender and mixed everything together, the blender mashes the banana really well and helps to cream together the sugar and softened butter.

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If you don’t have a hand blender or processor you can use a potato masher to mash the bananas or a fork and elbow grease to mix together the other ingredients.

Top tip – make sure you use a mixing spoon that is not used for making gluten bakes especially if it is a wooden spoon as gluten loves to hide in them.

I lined a 2 lb loaf tin and spooned in the batter

the loaf then goes in a pre heated oven at fan 160c for 1 hr

leave to cool, then turn out on to a wire cooling rack.

As mine was for a celebration, I added icing and chocolate shavings.

slice and enjoy with a cuppa!

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Silly Yak ready to roll gluten free pastry review

Today I decided to put Silly Yak pastry to the test.

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I started with a favourite, something I haven’t made for a while ,sausage rolls. The chilled pastry proved easy to use. I gave the surface a dusting of gluten free flour and unpacked the silly yak ready to roll pastry. I decided to use cling film on the pastry to stop it sticking

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The pastry rolled out easily, I then used some delicious Black Farmer sausages for the filling. I just opened up one end of the sausage and squeezed out the sausage meat on to the pastry.

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I sealed the pastry together with water and cut to size, Then I brushed the sausage rolls with beaten egg and popped in a pre heated hot oven 200c for 25mins.

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I was pleased with the results. The appearance was good and the taste delicious.

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The pastry was perfect.

With the remainder of the ready to roll pastry I decided to make a Tarte Tatin something I’ve only made once before. I used a Mary Berry recipe replacing refined sugar with coconut sugar and was very pleased with the result.

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Firstly I made the sticky sauce the added the sliced apple and finally the pastry top.

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Once again the Tarte Tatin went in the hot oven for 25mins

IMG_9816Again perfect pastry, with very little effort on my part and perfect dessert.

IMG_9823Once turned over you could see the fabulous sticky sauce and the perfectly cooked apples. Will now add this to my list of puddings.

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The only disappointment for me is that the pastry is not made using butter. I assume to make the pastry vegetarian, margarine is used. This is something I hate. really not a healthy choice. Maybe Silly Yak would consider making an all butter version too? I know I and many others would be keen to buy it. Sadly I am not likely to buy this version again even though it has made fantastic pastry.

The pastry is available from Tesco stores here is the list  > Tesco stockists or Tesco online £1.75 for 400g

find it in the chilled section

I would be interested to know your thoughts too, as I’m sure would Silly Yak

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Follow them on Facebook Silly yak and on Twitter @sillyyakfoods

or leave a message below

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I’m off to make a gluten free Chicken pie and apple turnovers using more of the Silly Yak pastry, second post to follow

Happy baking!

click here for Silly yak review part 2 

In search of the best way to a healthy body inside and out

Those of you that follow me on Twitter will know, I have been in the process of being diagnosed for possibly Inflammatory bowel disease or Coeliac disease. After a colonoscopy and endoscopy just over a month ago, followed a few weeks later by an MRI scan I have finally got a diagnoses.

After having Coeliac type symptoms, looking back now for about 30 years, I  eventually found a Doctor who was prepared to look again at a diagnoses rather than sticking with the label of Irritable bowel disease .  I had never been satisfied with the initial diagnoses and for probably 7 years I have been wheat free and about 4 years ago now I  have been gluten free as I did research about gluten intolerance and found lots of similarities with my condition.

Unfortunately after such a long time eating food that was causing me damage I am now intolerant to yeast ( wine, vinegar etc ) and onions and garlic all giving me the same symptoms as gluten, bloating and painful cramps.

After the two procedures I have decided I needed to work even harder to heal my insides. I have been researching,  reading books, blogs, tweets etc watching videos trying to take information from lots of different sources.

In doing so I have also learnt about the problems with Sugar and Fructose in our diet. I am now sugar free except the occasional birthday or special celebration when I make or bake using dextrose, raw honey or brown rice syrup. I can honestly say I don’t crave sugar anymore. I baked 50 gluten free cakes the other day for a holiday club and had no desire to eat one. It can be done! Parmesan cheese , macadamia nuts have been my go to treats. I have removed all alcohol too, to help with the healing process. Again, this has been easier than I imagined.

I have been researching  FODMAPS and Specific Carbohydrate Diet looking at removing all grains including rice and lowering possibly excluding cows milk and caffeine .

I think I will stick with Specific carbohydrate diet for now and see how this goes. Avoiding sugar, grains, starchy vegetables and some dairy.

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Finally on Wednesday it was time to go back and see my Gastro specialist, I took my husband with me in case I didn’t take in everything the Doctor told me. I had been waiting for this moment for many years. If Im honest I had got my head around Coeliac disease and ticked all the boxes for the condition and If I was a betting woman I would have put my money on Coeliac disease. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case and I was told I had Crohns disease  which is an inflammatory bowel disease. My biopsies were inconclusive but from the evidence he had from Colonoscopy and the MRI scan he concluded it was Crohns. I was told the types of medication I could have. ( I have no idea what he said ) But Mr S attempted to write down the Drugs names. Surely not the best way to give out important facts. We needed a leaflet with correct spellings of drugs and some basic advice and information.

I was given no information, just told to check out  National association of Crohns and Colitis and go home and do my homework!

When I asked about Coeliac disease and reminded him how long it was since I had eaten gluten. The Doctor said Coeliac disease could not be ruled out although he saw no damage when he did the endoscopy.

He asked me how my health was at the present time and I was thrilled to tell him how well I felt really well and that I was managing the disease by eating very healthily. I could tell he wasn’t convinced that the healthy diet was making much of a difference.

He told me to come back in 4 months, sooner if I had a major flare up and to have more blood tests.

Well, I left the hospital with a scary new ‘label’, I knew very little about the disease. Only knowing one person with Crohns who was regularly hospitalised and a cousin with Ulcerative Colitis, who has had many tough years of medication and operations.

I think its fair to say I was in shock, and still am a bit. But as a few wise Twitter friends reminded me, nothing has changed, its just a new label. I have never had a major flare up. over 30 years.Only been in hospital for these recent procedures.

In the past I probably have had one possible two days a month when I have cramps and sickness or brain fog after being accidentally glutened or after eating one of my other food intolerances. Even that seems to be reducing, but its early days yet.

Since changing my diet my weight is staying constant and so far I have not had any bloating. After hearing strong medication mentioned I am determined to keep this disease from flaring, using a healthy diet removing many known irritants to the body.

If you feel symptoms you have are not being taken seriously, seek another Doctors opinion. It took me 30 years and 3 separate surgeries in two counties and many many doctors to reach my diagnoses. Don’t give up! Maybe try Specific carbohydrate diet or FODMAPS to see if that could help.

I still haven’t really started looking at information about Crohns disease, but know that it is my next task.

Here’s to staying Fabulously Free From and eating only gorgeous fresh nutritious food!

 

Great sources of information here

Crohns and Colitis uk

Coeliac uk

SCD Lifestyle and follow on Twitter @scdlifestyle

I can also recommend a book Coeliac Disease what you need to know by Alex Gazzola

 

 

 

Tips to avoid cross contamination from gluten

Newly diagnosed with Coeliac disease or sensitive to gluten? I have put together a few tips for staying gluten free.

Use separate area if possible for preparation in your kitchen, use easily identified chopping board. preferably not wooden. Glass or plastic work well as they can be cleaned easily.

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Have your own labelled butter dish to avoid contamination from gluten covered knives. It is advisable to have separate jams and spreads as it is hard to keep these free from gluten crumbs. Squeezable jams and honey work well.

Wipe surfaces well before baking and cooking and make sure cloth hasn’t been used to wipe up gluten crumbs, flour etc .

Make sure utensils are thoroughly cleaned before preparing a gluten free meal.

Always keep gluten free food stuffs in separate cupboard to gluten containing foods especially flour. If using wooden spoons they need to be clearly marked gluten free and only used in GF cooking and baking as gluten can lurk in the wood. If possible have your own colander to drain gluten free pasta as the families colander/ sieve can have hidden gluten lurking in the holes even after using a dishwasher.

Treat yourself to your very own toaster clearly labeled and away from gluten toaster to avoid crumbs.

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Make sure family grill is clean before using for gluten free food. Gluten lurks every where!

Wash hands thoroughly after feeding pets, most pet foods contain gluten.

There are Pet foods  available now that are gluten free.

Fridge doors can be a gluten trap, wipe down regularly.

Do not serve gluten free food and gluten containing food on the same plate e.g cakes. bread rolls

Best not to share a drink with someone if they are eating gluten, have heard of a case of friends sharing a water bottle causing her to be glutened.

Check with restaurants that they use a separate fryer to cook deep fried food like chips as oil will be contaminated with tiny amounts of gluten.

Always good to encourage family members to ‘clear as they go’ and not leave dirty plates possibly containing gluten on the work surface for you to clear up.

Wash hands regularly and change tea towels and cloths often.

If these simple precautions are taken, living and eating with gluten eaters doesn’t need to be a problem.

Any other tips? let me know

gluten free easy cheesy dough ball mix

Today I tried a new bread mix which is gluten and yeast free. I found the mix on the Ocado website Made by the lovely Isabel from Isabel’s naturally free from . I cannot believe I hadn’t seen it before.

The directions were very simple and clearly written on the reverse of the box.

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I used melted butter instead of the vegetable oil. The mix came together easily and I then kneaded the dough until it was smooth and pliable.

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Then split into little balls, I made 14 little rolls.

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I had pre heated the oven and they cooked in 25 mins.

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They looked and smelt amazing, I couldn’t wait to try them.

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When gluten eating Mr S tried them, he commented that “they tasted like the cheesy rolls from Gaucho’s” He absolutely loved them, saying it was the best gluten free food I had made.

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They had the most lovely airy texture, bouncy ! One of the best products I have found that is gluten and yeast free.

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Lovely filled, I chose egg and bacon today. I urge you to try them. Definitely not just for kids!

I’m going to stock up on these.

Follow Isabel on Twitter @isabelsfreefrom 

Website isabelsfreefrom.co.uk

gluten free British Grand Prix at Silverstone

On Friday we drove to Coventry in readiness for the British grand prix at Silverstone. We booked tickets at the very last minute through Thomas Cook so finding somewhere to stay was tricky. We eventually booked to stay at Coombe Abbey just outside Coventry. Arriving later than hoped we checked in and carried our bags through the main hotel to the newer buildings beyond. Opening the door we were greeted to the sight of a very narrow single bed, 10.30 in the evening this was not really what we needed. Anyway after phoning reception a new room was found and a complimentary G&T was brought up, a very nice gesture.

Saturday was an early start as we were eager to get to the circuit. We were first to breakfast at 7.30am . The conservatory where breakfast was set out was beautiful, to anyone probably, other than a coeliac the buffet looked great. Plenty of choice and in a seperate area a hot buffet, this always worries me due to cross contamination, fried bread next to scrambled eggs etc. Once I had explained the waitress offered me a freshly made omelette, which I happily accepted. The omelette arrived promptly and to this I added some bacon from the buffet, as we were the only people to touch the food so far I decided to risk it.

Driving to Silverstone was remarkably quick and easy. We arrived in plenty of time. Giving me time to sort out my picnic for the day. I didn’t feel I could chance there being gluten free options on site. On friday evening I had packed sandwiches made using Knead gluten free, yeast free bread, fruit, seabrooks crisps and Honeybuns bakery cakes in a large cool box packed with lots of large cold packs.

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Having made up my lunch we made are way to the circuit. Silverstone was not overly busy  and we were able to get our bearings and have a good look around. Over the two days we watched GP2 and GP3 races as well as the Porsche Super Cup and moved from one stand to another. Woodcote and Luffield area.

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Like a school child on a day out, I was ready to eat my packed lunch by about 10.30am but made myself wait. The ham and cheese sandwich had survived quite well, although probably had been sat a little to close to the ice packs. The cherry tomatoes had frozen! The Seabrooks crinkled ready salted crisps (gluten free and yeast free) were lovely. I had not tried them before, most impressed.

I had a good look around Silverstone for gluten free options but was disappointed to find no choices for Coeliacs. I did however find a coffee stall which sold Honeybuns bakery chocolate brownies, these were clearly marked. Well done Caffe cultura 

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After a busy day we headed back to our hotel looking forward to a rest and a decent meal at 8pm. Unfortunately our reservation had been changed to 9pm. After explaining our busy day and the early start needed the following day, they squeezed us in at 7. Relieved we headed down to dinner. Once again served in the conservatory it had been such a beautiful day that the sun was still blazing in through the glass room. The waiter took our order but was very quick. This made me feel that he wasn’t listening to my very specific requirements for my meal, which left me nervous.

Our starters arrived, I had chosen Asparagus and a cheese brulee with pea shots, asking them to hold the quail scotch egg. Unfortunately the breadcrumbed egg was well and truly in the centre of my meal. Mr S’s Scallops had been brought out gluten free!  After alerting the waitress a new starter was brought out for me and a reheated scallops for Mr S.  I explained again the importance of getting our orders right. My food was delicious and the cheese brulee a great invention. For main course I had ordered the special which was John Dory fillet with new potatoes and samphire without the accompanying sauces. This was very good and it was my first samphire of the year. Sadly Mr S wasn’t impressed with his steak. For dessert the waiter suggested I left it up to the chef, which I was happy to do. Mr S ordered the cheese board and I was given a coconut and lime parfait with slices of pineapple and a tiny chocolate mousse. Very glad I left it up to the chef! The only thing we did notice was the staff were getting lots of complaints that evening about slow service. drink orders not being taken and some not even getting a menu for a very long time. As we were first in we seemed to avoid this.

The hotel is a wedding venue, not surprisingly as it was very picturesque. We saw two weddings while we were there. This did mean that we were woken at 11PM to a firework display outside. Not really what you need when you have to leave at 6.30 the next morning.

We made a prompt departure early on sunday morning and arrived at Silverstone for breakfast. Considerably more people on Sunday for the big race, It was very exciting to be there after watching for so many years on the tv. Once again I made up my picnic and made our way down to Woodcote B stand where we spent the majority of the day.

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After watching some exciting races in the morning I queued with Mr S for his gluten filled pizza which looked amazing. As it was such a lovely day we sat on the grass watching the Red arrows flying overhead.

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Then time for the big race, we had a very good view and a large screen directly in front.  Which was just as well as with my ear defenders in, I couldn’t hear the commentary. I thought Saturday was loud but it was nothing compared to Sunday. Those F1 cars really do make quite some noise! Rooting for Jenson Button and the rest of the Brits we settled down to enjoy a great race.

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We certainly weren’t disapointed. Although would have prefered not to have had all the tyre blow outs. The crowd were quieter than expected but I put that down to Lewis’s tyre nightmare early on. The final 6 or so laps the crowd certainly made up for the quiet start and it was a day I will never forget.

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We quickly made our way to the car and after much polite queueing, we were on our way home.

Maybe by next year at  Silverstone, there will be some gluten free options? Here’s hoping!