Archive for February, 2014

Holiday Insurance for Allergy Sufferers

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Do you think about your allergies when buying your holiday insurance?

I was approached by a lovely lady named Ella who is doing some research into some of the issues facing allergy sufferers. She has included some of her research into the following article about holiday insurance for www.money.co.uk

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This article is particularly for nut allergy sufferers. They plan on covering some other common allergies throughout the year, as whilst the general advice is similar there can be some differences.

Ella says:-

Many people with allergies are putting themselves at risk of substantial medical bills while travelling. This is because many health insurance policies either don’t adequately cover allergies or because there are certain rules which have to be met for that cover to apply. In the case of nut allergies, for example, the number of EpiPens the traveller must carry is often specified. Some insurers will even exclude emergency (often the most expensive) treatment. For nut allergy sufferers looking for some advice this article will bring you up to speed.

www.money.co.uk/article/1010225-travel-insurance-if-you-have-a-nut-allergy.htm

Sugar Free Marzipan and Sugar Free Cake.

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Have you heard about Sukrin all-natural sweetener? When you read the information about it, it does sound too good to be true! I have searched the internet for opinions on this product. The information I have found all sounds positive.

And it is great for baking!

sukrin-testpaket

It is available granulated, ground down like icing sugar and also as a demerara sugar substitute. So it seems all the sugar needed bases are covered with these three products. The only sugar based confectionery you can’t make with it is caramel!

Sukrin admit their products are a little pricey at the moment but they are working hard to reduce this. More information about all the Sukrin products can be found here.

I used the granulated sweetener to make simple vanilla cupcakes so I could taste the sweetness easily or any aftertaste. I used it exactly as I would caster sugar in a sponge recipe.

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I made some cupcakes with sukrin and wheat flour and some with gluten free flour. Both types of cakes rose as they would using sugar. They were not as sweet as those made with sugar but sweet enough and if you are going to use it all the time your taste buds adjust to the level of sweetness quite quickly.

As you can see Sukrin Melis worked well for dusting the top of cakes and for glace icing. The icing does leave a peppermint kind of cooling sensation on your tongue for a few seconds afterwards. The company recommend if you are going to make buttercream to use half and half with icing sugar to balance the taste and consistency.

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There are many recipes on the Sukrin website. The cake recipes on the website use a fat free sponge which if you are diabetic or follow a low fat diet you would obviously prefer but this type of sponge is not so good for celebration cakes as it is too light and wouldn’t last as long as a victoria sponge.

I was very interested in the sugar free, low fat marzipan recipe as this would be good for celebration cakes. It could even be coloured and used instead of fondant / roll out icing to decorate your celebration cake. I found it can be moulded as usual marzipan. If you are covering a cake with this marzipan and it splits a little on the edges you can rub it to join it back together.

If made with Sukrin almond flour, this marzipan will also be low in fat as 80% of the fat is removed!

I made this marzipan using pasteurised egg white powder to be safe especially as it doesn’t contain sugar or fat. I also tried it using Orgran No Egg and it was just as good. I would recommend this marzipan is eaten within a week so I would bear this in mind if using to cover a fruit cake.

julemarsipan

Gluten Free Parsnip and Apple Cake

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

I have seen lots of parsnip cake recipes lately and fancied trying it. 

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I wondered if it would work in the same way as carrot in a cake as parsnip is a bit drier. I adapted my carrot cake recipe to try this and it worked well.

It would be nice with cinnamon but my husband is allergic to it so we don’t have it in the house.

Next time I’m thinking of using dark muscovado sugar, dried ginger and chopped stem ginger instead of demerara sugar, mixed spice and apple. No new year diet here!

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This recipe makes quite a deep cake so takes a little while to cook. I would suggest wrapping  your cake tin with a thick layer of baking parchment or bake even strips to protect the side of the cake.

Parsnip and apple cake – serves 8 – 12

Ingredients
for the Cake
125g gluten free plain flour
60g maize flour or cornflour
65g ground almonds
3 tsp gluten free baking powder
4 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon
pinch salt
350g parsnip, grated
85g eating apple, chopped into small pieces
215ml sunflower oil
4 large eggs
250g demerara sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract

for the Topping
50g butter, at room temperature
60g icing sugar
200g cream cheese
vanilla extract
mixed spice or cinnamon

Dairy free topping - if you are just covering the top, only use half this amount.

150g dairy free margarine
600g icing sugar
vanilla extract
mixed spice or cinnamon

Method
Preheat oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas mark 4.
Grease and line an 8inch round cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Combine the flour, maize flour, ground almonds, baking powder, mixed spice and salt in a bowl.
Sieve together four times to make sure the baking powder is evenly distributed.
Measure the sunflower oil, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until paler in colour then stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the parsnip and chopped apple.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Now turn this onto the cooling wire so the cake cools the right way up or it could break in half.

For the topping

soften the butter for 10 seconds in a microwave or leave at room temperature before beating together with the icing sugar. This is easier if you use a food mixer with a beater attachment or use a hand held mixer. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract and mixed spice or cinnamon to taste.
Spread onto the top and sides of the cake with a pallet knife.

Dairy free topping

Mix the icing sugar into the dairy free margarine. Do not overbeat the mixture as it will split. Stir in a few drops of water until it reaches the required consistency. Stir in vanilla extract and mixed spice or cinnamon to taste.
You may think this is a lot of icing sugar. If you use less icing sugar to margarine, the mixture will split. Add a little extra flavouring to this buttercream.
Spread onto the top and sides of the cake with a pallet knife.