Gluten free pineapple upside down cake

We have long been wanting to bake this cake but invariably defaulted to making something that had been tried and tested.  As we were expecting guests for lunch on New Year’s day we decided to take a chance and bake this cake for dessert.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 250 gm gluten free self raising flour
  • 250 gm soft butter
  • 150 gm light moscavado sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 5 pineapple rings
  • 15 glazed cherries

How much will I make?

12″ round tin

How do I make it?

Grease and line cake tin with parchment paper – pre heat oven to 180 degree.   Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer before adding the eggs, vanilla extract and milk.   Keep mixing for a few minutes before adding the flour and baking powder.   Continue till you get a nice glossy mixture.   Spread the base of the cake tin with golden syrup – layer the pineapple rings with glazed cherries in the middle of each pineapple ring.  Pour in the cake mixture and bake in oven for and hour to an hour and fifteen minutes till cake is done.   Remove and turn the cake over so the pineapple rings are on top.   Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.

 

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Roast chicken and creamed corn soup with corn bread muffins

Here’s our contribution to the “What do you do with the left over roast from Christmas ?” conundrum.  On Boxing day we had made some corn muffins for a lunch get together with some dear friends.   Having used some of the creamed corn in the corn bread muffin mix we had planned to use the remainder in a soup combined with the left over roast chicken (using tarragon butter – recipe posted earlier) from Christmas lunch.   We think it is one of the better soups we have made in a while with the fresh tarragon adding incredible flavour and enhancing the overall deliciousness of the soup.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 handfuls of left over roast chicken
  • 300 gm creamed corn
  • 2 large closed cup mushrooms sliced
  •  1 Thai red chilli chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • Handful of fresh tarragon chopped
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • Dash of pepper
  • Knob of butter

How much will I make?

2 hearty bowls

How do I make it?

Heat a pan and add a knob of butter followed by the garlic.   Saute for a minute over medium heat ensuring the garlic does not brown before adding the chopped red chillies.   Saute for another minute before adding the tarragon and left over chicken.   Warm the chicken through and switch of the heat.   I a separate pan add another knob of butter to saute the mushrooms for a couple of minutes.   Pour in 400 ml of water and add the stock cubes and bring to a boil.   Add the creamed corn and chicken to the stock and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.  Pour into your soup bowl and enjoy.

 

Corn bread muffin

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup of corn meal
  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup skimmed milk
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup creamed style corn
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped spring onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped jalapenos
  • 1/2 grated cheddar cheese (substitute with your favourite cheese)
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt to taste

How many will I make?

12 medium sized muffins

How do I make it?

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.   Add the chopped spring onions, jalapenos, cheese, milk and oil – mix thoroughly before adding well beaten eggs.   Fold the eggs into the mixture and spoon into greased muffin cases and bake in pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Centigrade for 40-45 minutes till they are golden brown.  Enjoy on its own with some sweetened butter (honey mixed with softened butter) or as an accompaniment to soups.

Gluten free coffee & walnut cake

Having discovered chestnut flour a few weeks back I decided to bake with it today and replaced our normal gluten free flour mix in a coffee and walnut cake.   Net result, I think texture wise it is better and the cake is not as crumbly.  Another incentive for using it moving forward is that it is a singular flour and not a composite of many.  I searched the web for some inspiration and found that almost all the recipes for the cake are similar with slight alterations to the icing (equal measures of flour, sugar, butter and egg with personalized extras thrown in for good measure!)   Here’s my recipe for gluten free coffee and walnut cake (notice the equal measures!!)

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What do I need to make it?

  • 250 gms chestnut flour (singoda)
  • 250 gms golden caster sugar
  • 250 gms softened unsalted butter
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 shot of espresso
  • 1 tsp espresso coffee powder
  • 5 tbsp Kaluha
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 50 gms chopped walnuts

For the icing

  • 100 gms icing sugar
  • 1 shot of espresso

How much will I make?

12″ round tin

How do I make it?

Cream the butter and sugar first before adding the eggs.  Continue whisking before adding the flour and baking powder.  Whisk for another 5 minutes before adding remain ingredients barring the walnuts. Keep whisking till you get a nice glossy sheen – finally add the walnuts and fold them into the batter.   Pour into greased pan and place in a 180 degree Centigrade pre-heated oven for 45 minutes to an hour till cake is done.   For the icing mix the icing sugar and espresso a little at a time till you get a thick mixture.   Add more icing sugar if the mixture is too runny.   Pour over cooled cake and allow to set before slicing and serving.

Millet (ragi) flour pancakes (gluten and lactose free!)

Having successfully made pancakes with chestnut flour last week I tried making a batch using a gluten free flour which has long been a staple in the state of Karnataka in southern India.  I loved the taste and texture which is probably more akin to a crepe than a fluffy pancake (don’t be put off by the darker colour either).  Anna makes a spicier uthapam and dosai with some instant batter using millet flour and water (great alternative for those too busy to grind fresh dosai dough).  The hazelnut milk/drink is available in most UK supermarkets but I am sure you can substitute it with a non lactose option of your choice.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup red millet flour (ragi)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp Manuka honey
  • 1 cup hazelnut milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (we used 1/4 tsp vanilla paste)
  • Butter to grease the pan
  • Pinch of salt

How many will I make?

6-8 pancakes

How do I make it?

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk till you get a nice smooth batter that coats the back of your ladle or spoon.   Use a little butter in a frying pan and spoon in some batter.   Cook on both sides and enjoy with topping of your choice.

Gluten free chestnut flour pancakes

We are loving the discovery of chestnut flour (singoda) which we probably never would have used had we not started experimenting with gluten free flour options.  We are still trying to perfect the sweet potato/chestnut flour “churros” but tried using the flour today to make some delicious pancakes – they are not as fluffy as traditional pancakes but taste divine.   So for all those who want a gluten free breakfast option this recipe is for you.  Enjoy!

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup chestnut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp fruit sugar (sweeter than normal sugar)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (we used 1/4 tsp vanilla paste)
  • Butter to grease the pan
  • Pinch of salt

How much will I make?

6-8 medium sized pancakes

How do I make it?

Beat the egg and milk in a bowl and then add the chestnut flour and baking powder.  Use a whisk to beat further to ensure no lumps.   Add the remaining ingredients, whisk further and batter should coat your ladle.   Heat frying pan on medium heat and add a knob of butte,r some batter and cook on both sides,   Serve hot with topping of your choice – we had three different toppings today – icing sugar, Greek honey and Agave nectar (amazing alternative to sugar – natural and tasty).

Summer treats

Some of the things we look forward to during the English summer – strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, asparagus and Jersey royal potatoes.  Tonight we had 2 out of the 3 treats and I managed to whisk a hollandaise sauce for the first time.  I expected to scramble the eggs but was pleasantly surprised with the outcome (next challenge will be to make a poached egg breakfast with ham and hollandaise).  If you have never made this sauce try the recipe below which was straight forward (recipe courtesy of Love Food – Sauces).

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Hollandaise Sauce

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 115 gm unsalted butter – slightly softened and diced
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Around 175 ml

How do I make it?

Pour the vinegar and water into a small heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil.  Boil for 3 minutes, or until reduced by half.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.  Put the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and beat in the cooled vinegar water.  Set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, ensuring that the the base of the bowl does not touch the simmering water.  Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens slightly and lightly coats the back of the spoon.  Keeping the water simmering, add the butter, a piece at a time, stirring until the sauce is thick, smooth and glossy.  Add a little lemon juice if the mixture is too thick and to give a more piquant flavour.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.  We had the sauce over some steam asparagus .

Jersey royal potato salad

What do I need to make it?

  • 750 gms Jersey royal  potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed
  • 4 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 150 ml sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Place boiled cubed potatoes in a large bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and give it a good mix.  Enjoy.

Dinner party – Sahni family

A good friend once quoted “the best discovery true friends can make is that they can grow separately without growing apart” (you know that feeling when you meet someone after a very long time it and you pick up from where you left off).  This quote has stuck with me for the last 15 odd years and as I meet up with friends from yesteryear the more profound this quote seems.  On Friday night we had the Sahni family over for dinner.  I knew Pawan and Sumatee from my days in Bahrain – they were a second family to me after my sister and brother-in-law moved to Dubai.  When I left Bahrain in 2001 their 2 kids Niharika and Akhil were only 6 years and a year and a half.

Friday night was an opportunity for them to meet my family for the first time as we got reacquainted after 12 odd years.   Niharika and Akhil were a lot older but Pawan and Sumatee hadn’t changed much (time has been a lot kinder to them!! ).  Anna and I thoroughly enjoyed prepping for the dinner and below are a few of the recipes from our dinner party.

Appetisers

  • Falafel & sweet potato balls with sweet chilli sauce (store bought from COSTCO)

Main Course

  • Kadai chicken (recipe from “Prashad” by Jiggs Kalra)
  • Meat belli ram (“”)
  • Dahl makhani (“”)
  • Minted roast potatoes
  • Kachumber salad
  • Jeera pilau
  • Chappathis

Dessert

  • Homemade lactose free strawberry ice cream

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Kadai Chicken

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 kg boneless chicken thighs cut into three pieces
  • 3 ½ tsp garlic paste
  • 1 kg tomatoes chopped
  • 4 green chillies deseeded and chopped
  • 40 gms ginger chopped
  • Small bunch of coriander chopped
  • 5 tsp coriander seeds
  • 8 whole red chillies (dry variety)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek (kasoori methi)
  • 7 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Dry grind the coriander seeds and red chillies to a powder and keep aside.  Heat ghee in a pan, add garlic paste and sauté over medium heat until light brown.  Add the dry spices, stir for 30 seconds, add tomatoes, bring to a boil, add green chillies, ¾ of the ginger and a third of the chopped coriander, reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes.  Then add chicken, bring to a boil, simmer, stirring occasionally until the fat leaves the masala, the gravy becomes thick and the chicken is tender.  Sprinkle garam masala and fenugreek leaves and stir for a couple of minutes.  Adjust the seasoning.  Garnish with remaining ginger and chopped coriander and serve with Indian bread of your choice.

Meat Belli Ram

What do I need to make it?

  • 1.2 kg spring lamb (I used boneless leg of mutton) cubed
  • 600 gms yoghurt whisked
  • 500 gms onions sliced
  • 7 tbsp ginger chopped
  • 5 tbsp garlic chopped
  • 10 green cardamoms
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (use paprika or cayenne as alternatives)
  • 7 ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 125 gm ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Firstly, mix all of the ingredients, except coriander seeds and ghee with yogurt and leave the lamb chunks in this marinade for at least 2 hours.

Heat ghee in a pan, add coriander seeds and sauté over medium heat until the begin to crackle.  Transfer the lamb, along with the marinade and bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Then cover and simmer, stirring at regular intervals until meat is tender.  Uncover, increase to medium heat and cook until fat leaves the masala.  Adjust the seasoning.  Serve hot with Indian bread of your choice.

Dahl makhani

What do I need to make it?

  • 2/3 cup whole urad dahl
  • 3 tbsp red kidney beans
  • 3 ½ tsp ginger paste
  • 3 ½ tsp garlic paste
  • 120 ml tomato puree
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 120 gm unsalted butter
  • 120 ml single cream
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Wash and soak dahl and beans before pressure cooking (traditional recipe calls for cooking on open flame but I’ve found pressure cooking quicker with little compromise on taste). Once cooked mash the dahl and add remaining ingredients (save 20 gms of butter and cream for later) with some water and cook over low heat for 40 minutes (stir occasionally to ensure the dahl doesn’t stick to the bottom).  Add the remaining butter and cream and cook for ten minutes.  Adjust the seasoning and then serve with either rice or Indian bread of your choice.

Mint roast potatoes

We came across an interesting variety of potatoes we had never seen before and bought it to make this dish.   It is quite seasonal like Jersey potatoes and very tasty.

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 kg anya potatoes (Jersey or new baby potatoes will work too)
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • Grind to a paste
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • 3-4 green chillies
    • 4-5 Indian button onions
    • ½ inch piece of ginger
    • Small bunch of fresh coriander and mint leaves
    • Small ball of tamarind
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • Pinch of asafoetida
    • 3 tbsp oil
    • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Par boil the potatoes with a pinch of turmeric powder and a dash of salt.  Heat oil in a large pan and add asafoetida and cumin seeds and sauté for 30 seconds.  Add the sliced onions and sauté for another 5 minutes before adding the paste ingredients.   Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes before adding the par boiled potatoes.  Continue to cook on a low heat till potatoes are cooked through and begin to roast a bit.  Serve hot.­

Kachumber salad

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 celery stick chopped
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • Half a cucumber chopped
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • Juice and rind of a lime
  • Handful mint, coriander and basil leaves chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Make sure all the vegetables are chopped in similar size pieces and mix in a bowl with chopped herbs, lime rind/juice and seasoning.   This salad works really well for Indian meals and barbecues with grilled meats.

Homemade strawberry ice cream

We recently bought an ice cream maker from Andrew James with a view to make our own at home and to experiment with flavour combinations.  For starters we have followed general guidelines that came with our ice cream maker and so far we have successfully produced two batches – both are lactose free (Anna made a wicked orange marmalade ice cream to inaugurate the ice cream maker).  We can now say that we have definitely been bitten by the “make your own bug” and plan to feature ice cream on the dessert menu for future dinner parties..  The original recipe for this ice cream recommended double cream and caster sugar (no tofu or soya cream).

What do I need to make it?

  • 450 gms strawberry
  • 2 ½ tbsp fruit sugar
  • 275 ml soya cream
  • 75 gm silken tofu
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large meringue nests

How much will I make?

Around 1 litre tub

How do I make it?

Puree the strawberries with the fruit sugar.  Blend half the puree with the vanilla extract, soya cream and tofu.  Break the meringue into mixture till it dissolves and then refrigerate till ready to use.  Once ice cream is done pour in the remaining strawberry puree and swirl into the mixture.  We served the ice cream on a bed of broken meringue and topped it with a summer berry compote and fresh strawberries (our rendition of Eton mess).