Udi’s Gluten Free Review

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

A little while ago now a very popular brand of gluten free products in the US – Udi’s Gluten Free, launched their gluten free products in the UK.

Udi’s very kindly sent me a big box of goodies to review.

SAM_3933I was very impressed with all the products they sent to me. I was very excited to try the bagels and they didn’t disappoint.

I tried the Cinnamon and Raisin bagels toasted with butter. They toasted well and tasted lovely and moist. The plain bagels were great toasted and filled for lunch. I couldn’t taste any difference from a usual bagel. Udi’s bagels contain egg. Their list of ingredients can be found here.

I wasn’t too sure about the Strawberry Breakfast Bars but after 20 years making cakes, jam is not my favourite thing.

I took the Cinnamon and sugar Bagel Chips (contains egg) and the Aged Cheddar Ancient Grain Crisps (contains milk) to school with me to share with the children after school. All who tried them were very impressed. One three year old tried taking the box of bagel chips away with her several times!

I found the granola a bit hard at first but a day or two after initially opening the bag I found they softened a little. They were quite sweet, I prefer my granola not so sweet.

 

Cruising With A Food Allergy

Monday, May 19th, 2014

 

If you found Ella’s guide useful about getting travel insurance with a nut allergy. http://www.money.co.uk/article/1010225-travel-insurance-if-you-have-a-nut-allergy.htm

Ella has written an article about Cruising with a food allergy. You can find it here.

 

Baking with Almond Flour

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

I have been interested in almond flour since reading American gluten free recipe sites so when I was given a bag by Sukrin I couldn’t wait to try it.

splash-mandelmel

 

After reading about it here I realised this isn’t the same almond flour as used on the recipe sites.

This almond flour has had 80% of the fat removed. On their website Sukrin state that the flour is high in protein and minerals including magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese and zinc.

Still inspired by the American sites I decided to make a carrot cake using just almond flour and not adding any other flour. Sukrin advise using half and half with another flour.

SAM_3532

 

As you can see it had quite a close texture. It wasn’t stodgy though and the flavour of almond was quite strong. The cake lasted 2 – 3 days.

If you are looking to add protein and less fat to your diet then substituting some of your usual flour with this may help.

I use ground almonds in my cakes as the fat adds moistness and helps it to last more than a couple of days which this flour doesn’t do so I won’t be using this flour again in my gluten free baking.

Nakd Snack Bar Review

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

I had seen Nakd bars in the shops but hadn’t tried them yet as it isn’t the sort of thing I would usually buy so when I was asked if I would like to try Nakd products I suddenly thought – yes actually I think I would! I felt very spoiled when this was delivered!

SAM_3608

Fruit tea, a china cup, a tube of gorgeous lavender hand cream and a packet of Nakd Cocoa Delight.

If your choice of snack is sugary sweet then this may not be for you. I like dried fruit but prefer them in foods rather than on their own so these bites were ideal.

Made from dates, cashew nuts, raisins, cocoa powder and rice flour. I honestly think these are the perfect guilt free in between meals snack and I will be trying their other flavours.

SAM_3612

 

 

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

europe

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

Dr Oetker Baking Product Allergy Information

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

I have always trusted Dr Oetker products for my ‘free from’ baking. 

1394180_756267144390786_1463268439_nAllergen information is clearly labelled and whenever I email with an allergen query, they always get back to me with an answer.

I often get asked what cake decorating products are suitable for certain diets so I thought I would ask the company for their full list of baking products and their allergens which they very kindly provided. I have put it here in a table so it is easier to read.

Apart from the gluten free baking powder, none of the other products are actively tested for gluten levels, so can only be labelled as having no “gluten containing ingredients”.

Due to ingredient changes, please always check allergen information on the packaging.

Dr. Oetker Baking Products

No gluten ingredients

Dairy free

Egg free

Soya free

Nut free

READY ROLLED MARZIPAN 6x400g [01257] GF DF  EF SF No
NATURAL MARZIPAN 6x454g [01335] GF DF EF SF No
READY ROLLED REGALICE 6X450g [04347] GF DF EF SF No
REGALICE COLOURS 6x500g [04473] GF DF EF SF NF
R’toROLL IVORY ICING 6x1kg [04477] GF DF EF SF NF
READYtoROLL ICING 6x 1kg [04478] GF DF EF SF NF
READY TO ROLL ICING 6x454g [04481] GF DF EF SF NF
COCOA POWDER 3 X 1KG GF DF EF SF NF
SCOTBLOC MILK 14X300g [51305] No No EF No NF
WHITE CHOC CHIPS 9X100g No No EF No NF
REAL CHOC CHIPS MILK 9X100g [C30] GF No EF No NF
REAL CHOC CHIPS-PLAIN 9X100g [C32] GF No EF No NF
GLYCERINE 6X38ml [U102] GF DF EF SF NF
LEAF GELATINE 1 X 1KG GF DF EF SF NF
SELECT LEAF GELATINE 20g X 10 [S80] GF DF EF SF NF
DESIGNER ICING POUCH BLUE 140G X 5 GF DF EF SF NF
DESIGNER ICING POUCH PINK 140G X 5 GF DF EF SF NF
DESIGNER ICING POUCH WHITE 140G X 5 GF DF EF SF NF
12 WAFER DAISIES X 10 GF DF EF SF NF
SILVER SHIMMER SPRAY 6 X 100ML No DF EF SF NF
FUDGE CHUNKS 9 X 85G GF No EF No NF
GLUCOSE SYRUP TUBE 6 X 140g GF DF EF SF NF
GOLD SHIMMER SPRAY 6 X 100ML No DF EF SF NF
SUGAR STRANDS JAR 6 X 55G GF DF EF SF NF
HUNDREDS & THOUSANDS JAR 6 X 65G No DF EF SF NF
CHOCOLATE FLAVOURED STRANDS JAR 6 X 55G GF DF EF SF NF
POLKA DOTS JAR 6 X 45G GF DF EF SF NF
SUGAR STARS JAR 6 X 40G GF DF EF SF NF
SUGAR BUTTERFLIES JAR 6 X 35G GF DF EF SF NF
CHOCOLATE BEANS JAR 6 X 65G GF DF EF No NF
SOFT GOLD PEARLS JAR 6 X 45G GF DF EF No NF
SHIMMER PEARLS MIX JAR 6 X 45G GF DF EF SF NF
WHITE CHOC CHUNKS 9 X 100G GF No EF No NF
MILK CHOC CHUNKS 9 X 100G GF No EF No NF
Dr Oetker EASY SWIRL CUPCAKE ICING PINK 5 x 180g GF DF EF SF NF
Dr Oetker EASY SWlRL CUPCAKE ICING VANILLA 5 x 180g GF DF EF SF NF
Dr Oetker EASY SWIRL CUPCAKE ICING CHOCOLATE 5 x 180g GF DF EF SF NF
Neon Sugar 4 cell – 4 x 100g GF DF EF SF NF
Fine Cooks’ Chocolate Extra Dark 20 x 150g GF No EF No NF
Fine Cooks’ Chocolate Milk 20 x 150g GF No EF No NF
Fine Cooks’ Chocolate Dark (Plain) 20 x 150g GF No EF No NF
Fine Cooks’ Chocolate White 20 x 150g GF No EF No NF
Dr. Oetker Gluten Free Baking Powder Sachets 14 x 6*5g GF DF EF SF NF
Dr. Oetker Bicarbonate of Soda Sachets 14 x 6*7g GF DF EF SF NF
Shimmer Sugar 4cell 4x100g GF DF EF SF NF
Bright Red Gel Food Colour – 6 x 10g GF DF EF SF NF
Sunshine Yellow Gel Food Colour – 6 x 10g GF DF EF SF NF
Sky Blue Gel Food Colour – 6 x 10g GF DF EF SF NF
Lime Green Gel Food Colour – 6 x 10g GF DF EF SF NF
Ultra Violet Gel Food Colour – 6 x 10g GF DF EF SF NF
Jet Black Gel Food Colour – 6 x 10g GF DF EF SF NF
Hot Pink Gel Food Colour – 6 x 10g GF DF EF SF NF
Neon Orange Gel Food Colour – 6 x 10g GF DF EF SF NF
Dr Oetker Gluten Free Baking Powder Tub 4 x 170g GF DF EF SF NF
Bicarbonate of Soda 200g 1×4 GF DF EF SF NF
Cream of Tartar – (6x5g) x 18 GF DF EF SF NF
Ground Arrowroot – (6x8g)  x9 GF DF EF SF NF
Chocolate Hearts 10 x 40g GF No EF No NF
Giant Chocolate Stars 10 x 20g GF No EF No NF
Coloured Writing Icing 6x76g GF DF EF SF NF
Neon Glitter Writing Gels 6x76g GF DF EF SF NF

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.

SAM_3530

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.

SAM_3525

 

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. 

SAM_3570

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!

SAM_3568

 

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.

Sukrin Bread and Cake Mix

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

I was given a lovely big box of goodies from www.sukrin.com/en/ to try. It contained granulated, brown and icing sugar alternative. Sesame flour, almond flour, Fibrefine which is a high fibre corn flour. A bread mix and cake mix!

Where do I start?

I thought I’d start with the easy option – the bread and cake mix.

SAM_3445

 

This is a low carbohydrate bread mix is wheat, milk, yeast, soy and sugar free. It does contain egg. Apparently it is very popular amoung sports people and I can see why.

The mix comes with it’s own baking tin. All you need to do is stir in the water and any extra flavourings you like. Spoon into the tin, level the top and bake.

SAM_3454

I kept my bread plain so I could taste it as it was. It had a lovely flavour and was full of seeds. It was quite moist but soft. The pack says to store in the fridge. It still tasted good 4 days later.

SAM_3470

SAM_3491The cake mix makes an 8 inch cake and is gluten and sugar free. Again I kept it quite plain so I could taste the flavour as it was.

SAM_3418

 

This cake mix is mixed together with 3 eggs, 75ml vegetable oil and 150ml water and any flavourings you like. The company have produced a booklet of recipes which can be made with the cake mix.

SAM_3426

 

The mix I used has sesame flour as the first ingredient. I don’t know if the recipe has changed as the ingredient list on the website lists almond flour as the first ingredient. I mention this as I did find the cake had a strong flavour which I didn’t really like.

It had a great texture and lasted a few days. I think this cake mix might suit strong flavours being added to it.

SAM_3495

 

Pine Nut Flour and Pumpkin Seed Flour

Friday, November 15th, 2013

I was very excited to receive a bag of pine nut meal and pumpkin seed meal from www.goldenoils.co.uk I was asked to try some simple recipes with both and I’m glad I did!

newhomepageimagetaketwoAt first I thought they would be quite oily but Elena from the company explained that the oil is pressed from the kernels and the meal is what’s leftover – clever! Both are milled as fine as flour.

As well as used in recipes as a flour replacement, both can be sprinkled raw onto breakfast cereals or whatever you like for an extra boost of protein and minerals and they are low in fat.

Both flours still have their original flavour. I could taste the pumpkin seed meal in the recipes, the pine nut flavour mellowed but gave a great texture – quite like wheat flour.

shortbread

With the pine nut meal I made a gluten and dairy free shortbread biscuit and lemon drizzle cake.

With the pumpkin seed meal I made gluten and dairy free chilli muffins, banana and maple syrup muffins, shortbread biscuits some quick blinis.

I thought if the shortbread worked then I would know that pastry would work too. I used the suggested one third meal to gluten free flour which worked well and think is right for the pumpkin seed meal as this has quite a strong flavour and is quite dry so in pastry and cakes they would need more liquid.

I would try half pine nut meal and half gluten free flour for shortbread and pastry next time as the pine nut meal seems to give moisture as ground almonds would but without the oiliness and strong flavour.

I tried half and half pine nut flour in the lemon drizzle cake which worked really well. The cake had a great texture and a neutral flavour.

pine nut lemon drizzle

 

Pine Nut and Lemon Drizzle Cake
Serves 8 – 10

100g gluten free plain flour
100g pine nut meal
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
200g caster sugar
200g dairy free margarine (I use Vitalite)
4 med eggs
2 lemons, zest and juice
100g caster sugar

Grease and line a 20cm/8 inch cake tin.

Preheat oven to 190°c/375°f/gas mark 5.

Combine the gluten free flour, pine nut meal and gluten free baking powder. Sieve together four times to fully distribute all of the ingredients.

Cream together the caster sugar and dairy free margarine until light and fluffy. It is best to do this using a food mixer with a beater attachment or use a hand held electric mixer.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Beat the egg into the creamed mixture a bit at a time making sure to beat in each addition properly before adding the next. If the mixture starts to split, mix in a spoonful of the flour.

Fold in the flours and the grated lemon zest with a large spoon.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until firm to touch and a knife inserted comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin.

Squeeze the lemons and weigh the juice. Weigh an equal amount of caster sugar and place both into a small saucepan. Heat until boiling and the sugar has dissolved.

Using a pastry brush, brush all of the syrup over the cake and leave to cool.

As the top is sticky, place a piece of silicon paper on top and turn out onto a plate then turn the right way up onto your serving plate. If you have a loose bottomed cake tin, you could lift out the cake and slide it off the base.

You can finish the cake by making a glaze of icing sugar and water and spread over the top of the cake.

Gluten and dairy free Pine Nut Shortbread

80g gluten free plain flour
40g pine nut meal
80g dairy free margarine
40g caster sugar

Place a sheet of baking parchment onto a baking tray.

Preheat oven to 180°c/350°f/gas mark 4.

Combine the flours and rub in the dairy free margarine.

Mix in the sugar and bring together to form a dough.

Dust the worktop with gluten free flour. Roll out the dough ¼ inch thick. Stamp out shapes using a biscuit cutter.

Place onto the baking tray spacing apart. Bake for about 12 minutes depending on size.

Pumpkin Seed Chilli Muffins
Makes 12

150g pumpkin seed meal
150g gluten free plain flour
15g gluten free baking powder
pinch salt
150g dairy free margarine
1 egg
360ml dairy free milk
2 – 3 chillies

Preheat oven to 190°c/gas mark 5.

Sieve together the pumpkin seed flour, gluten free flour and baking powder 4 times to equally distribute the ingredients.

Melt the dairy free margarine in a microwave and stir into the flours with the egg and dairy free milk. The mixture should be a thick batter. If it is too thick, add a drop more dairy free milk. The pumpkin seed meal soaks up lots of liquid.

Finely chop the chillies and stir into the batter.

Place 12 muffin cases into a muffin tray and divide the mixture between them.

Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. At their best for a day or two. The muffins are best served warm.

Banana and Maple Muffins
makes 12

160g gluten free plain flour
90g pumpkin seed meal
2½ teaspoons gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
100g dairy free margarine
40g maple syrup
90g dairy free milk
2 eggs
2 small bananas
30g sultanas

Preheat oven to 200°c/gas mark 6.

Sieve together the pumpkin seed flour, gluten free flour and baking powder 4 times to equally distribute the baking powder.

Melt the dairy free margarine in a microwave and stir into the flours with the maple syrup, egg and dairy free milk.

Mash the bananas and stir into the batter with the sultanas. The mixture should be a thick batter. If it is too thick, add a drop more dairy free milk. The pumpkin seed meal soaks up lots of liquid.

Place 12 muffin cases into a muffin tray and divide the mixture between them.

Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. The muffins are at their best for a day or two.

Quick yeast free pumpkin seed meal blinis – this recipe is adapted from a buckwheat blini recipe by Sophie Dahl

The pumpkin seed meal worked really well in this recipe. The blinis have a very savoury flavour with a slight bitterness which would work well with a variety of toppings.

85g/3oz pumpkin seed meal
1 tsp baking powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper
240ml/9fl oz dairy free milk
2 free-range egg whites, preferably organic
pinch salt

For the blinis, mix together the pumpkin seed meal, baking powder, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper and the dairy free milk to make a smooth batter. You may need a little more liquid.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.

Gradually fold the whisked egg whites into the batter mixture using a metal spoon.

Melt a little dairy free margarine in a frying pan over a medium high heat, and spoon large tablespoons of the batter into the pan to make medium sized pancakes, about 10cm/4in in diameter.

Fry the blinis, in batches, for 2-3 minutes until small bubbles appear on the surface and the underside looks cooked. Turn the blinis over and cook on the other side for a further 1-2 minutes, or until golden-brown. Keep warm.

Repeat until all of the mixture is used up.