Lemon and Raspberry Polenta Cake

I have been meaning to make a polenta cake for a while now as I was interested to see how well polenta works as a flour so I decided to use Nigella’s ‘Lemon Polenta Cake’ recipe as I had heard very good things about it.

I added raspberries to my cake but for Nigella’s original recipe visit the link below.

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/LEMON-POLENTA-CAKE-5308

You are going to need

  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Lemons (Zested but also save the juice)
  • 200g Unsalted Butter
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 200g Ground Almonds
  • 100g Polenta
  • 1 ½ tsp Gluten-Free Baking Powder
  • A Punnet of Raspberries
  • 150g Icing Sugar (For the drizzle)

First turn the oven onto gas mark 4 and make sure you have lined or greased a 9 or 8 inch cake tin. I baked my polenta cake in an 8 inch tin and just made sure that I added a few more minutes to the baking time. Then zest and juice the two lemons and keep them to one side.

Next, cream the butter and sugar together and add in the 3 eggs. Combine all of the dry ingredients and continue to mix. Lastly, add the lemon zest to the cake mixture. Scoop into your greased or lined tin and place the raspberries on top of the cake like the picture below. The raspberries add delicious, sweet little pockets of flavour and also give the cake a burst of colour.
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Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the edges of the cake are golden and a skewer comes out of the cake clean.

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Whilst the cake is baking, place a pan on the hob with the icing sugar and the juice of the two lemons. Boil until the sugar is completely dissolved and pour over the cake once it is out of the oven.

The syrup and raspberries in this cake kept it nice a moist for almost a week and I was eating it for breakfast with yogurt or warming it up with custard for pudding. I can imagine lots of different things would go well in this cake, like orange or lime and I cannot wait to make it again!

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Oh my Goodness!

Yum Yum Bros Food Company have been working on brand new range of products under the name of ‘Oh My Goodness’ and oh my goodness, these bars are good.

After seeing various people on the ‘Coeliacs in the UK’ getting in touch with Yum Yum Bros to trial their new product range I emailed them and shortly got a response asking me for my address. A few days later, look what arrived!

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I was sent the Buttery Oat Bar, the Chocolate Brownie and the Appletastic Bar.

The Buttery Oat Bar is exactly what it says on the tin, just like a regular flapjack I found this bar was a perfect on-the-go snack or breakfast. The Chocolate Brownie was rich, fudgy and crunchy round the edges. Even though I didn’t expect to be crazy about this bar as there are lots of gluten-free brownies on the market, this was absolutely delicious. Lastly, The Appletastic Bar is also flapjack based but has added apple, cinnamon and raisins that make the bar taste amazing. It was by far my favourite out of the three and it was like eating apple crumble on the move!

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The ‘Oh My Goodness’ range consists of a gluten, dairy and wheat free range alongside a nut and dairy free range. A box of 12 bars costs £9.48 which prices them at 79p each and although I feel this is quite pricey, the 25% discount voucher sent with my trial bars makes it more tempting to order a few boxes! If you want to order a sample or order a box visit http://www.ohmygoodnessfood.com.

I’m really hoping these bars will hit the supermarkets shortly as I am not too keen on the Nakd bars and I would love to enjoy an Appletastic Bar for breakfast once in a while!

Thank you Oh My Goodness!

Eating Out as a Coeliac – Success in America!

Below are a few reviews of places I visited during my stay in Pennsylvania, America. Are there any places I should have visited whilst I was there? Be sure to comment and let me know because I’d love to go back!

Olive Garden.

Olive Garden was the last place I expected to be able to eat whilst in America but after looking at their menu I was relieved to see they serve gluten-free pasta! I created my own pasta dish with gluten-free rotini, primavera sauce and lots and lots of shrimp. It was so delicious and by far one of my favourite pasta dishes I have ever eaten. They happily gave me a separate salad with no croutons but sadly they don’t serve any gluten-free bread rolls, hopefully that will be on the cards in the future.

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Mikes Pizzeria Italian Restaurant, Effort, Pennsylvania.

Expecting to find nothing that I could eat there, apart from a salad I was quite hesitant to go to a pizzeria. Mikes Pizzeria is a family run business that serves everything from pizza to calzone. I was delighted when we walked into their restaurant to find a big sign on the counter that said ‘Gluten-Free Pizza and Pasta Available’. This was no trouble for them, as they purchased the gluten-free bases from a supplier and each base is already placed in a metal case so there is no concern for cross-contamination in the pizza ovens. I had a pizza topped with a white sauce, garlic, basil and tomatoes and I ate the whole thing. Although it wasn’t as big as everyone’s ‘normal’ pizza it was just as good and the bonus is, no-one asks to try it!

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Peacefood Café, New York City.

Whilst in New York City my cousin took me to Peacefood Café, a little café that serves delicious vegan food. Another bonus of this delightful place is that a large amount of dishes are gluten-free and their menu highlights them using a little flower motif. Sadly we didn’t visit for a meal, but I did get to try their ginger ale which was so refreshing. I also had a gluten-free double chocolate cookie that was amazing and didn’t taste vegan or gluten-free! It was full of rich chocolate and was by far the best cookie I had had in a while! Visit www.peacefoodcafe.com for a look at their full menu and locations.

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Vegan Treats, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Another fantastic experience was Vegan Treats, although I didn’t get to visit the bakery my cousin purchased a phenomenal gluten-free carrot cake for me that was out of this world. All their treats come packaged in these cute little brown boxes with a big sticker on the front as pictured below. At first I couldn’t believe this cake was vegan, let alone gluten-free. The vegan ‘cream cheese’ frosting tasted incredible and I would love to know what they used as a substitute for the cream cheese. The carrot cake was moist and full of flavour and I was extremely sad once I had finished it. It was a true work of art. I wish I had visited the bakery myself because I would have bought one of everything. Visit www.vegantreats.com to look at their full menu if you’re interested!

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Gluten-Free Food Finds in America!

Food shopping was my favourite thing to do in America and in the two weeks I was there I visited a supermarket nearly every day. I was always finding exciting, new things that I wanted to try before I came home.

The supermarket we visited the most was Shoprite, a huge store with a beautiful bakery and deli. This was a fantastic shop that displayed the health advantages of products and also have colour coding for gluten free, dairy free, organic etc. This was so handy and made shopping easy for my family as they could pick out things that I could eat without having to spend time reading the packet. Below are a couple of my favourite (gluten free) food finds in America.

Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles.

It was so nice to be able to enjoy a traditional, colourful, full of sugar, American cereal that was gluten free and way more exciting than anything in England.

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Vans Gluten free waffles

When I saw these in the freezer I nearly cried. I miss having waffles for breakfast. I topped these with banana and maple syrup, banana and Skippy peanut butter, and banana with Hershey chocolate syrup. I wish we had a similar product in England because they were delicious.

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Lucy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.

This tiny packet of two cookies was not enough considering how incredibly delicious they were. I could have eaten about 50 of them in one sitting. They were nice and crunchy, not crumbly and tasted so sweet and yummy.

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Crisps/Chips

Being able to eat Walkers (or Lays as they are known in USA) was amazing, I took them for granted before I was a coeliac and now a really miss them. My other favourite crisps were Fritos which were definitely sent from heaven and Cheetos are better than life itself. If I had to pick one food item to eat for the rest of my life it would definitely be crisps because I just can’t get enough.

I’m not sure if shopping in America was exciting because it was all new to me and I hadn’t seen or tried anything before but coming back to the UK did highlight how lucky American’s are when it comes to gluten-free foods. I can only hope that similar foods come to the UK in the future!

Visiting America as a Coeliac

After a long two weeks in America I want to share a few of my fantastic experiences (gluten-free of course). I was staying in Effort, Pennsylvania and visited a variety of places that catered for gluten-free customers with no hesitation.

I thought I’d start off with my favourite restaurant that I enjoyed the most, Red Robin.

This place is incredible whether you are gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan or just fussy. From the beginning they made me feel like nothing was too much trouble. After asking for an allergen menu they handed me an iPad and let me choose the ingredients I wanted to avoid. This highlights all the ingredients that aren’t gluten-free in each burger and shows you the substitutes that they have. For example, you can swap any bun for a gluten-free bun or a lettuce wrap. Below is the Southern Charm burger with sweet potato fries.

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The best thing about the burgers are the gluten-free bun. It doesn’t fall apart, it wasn’t soggy, it wasn’t dry and it was very soft. But it doesn’t stop there. Both their steak fries and their sweet potato fries are gluten-free and they are unlimited. UNLIMITED FRIES! And salad and broccoli. They also wrap your burger and place a skewer in it so that the servers are aware of cross-contamination.

I would definitely recommend Red Robin for anyone in America looking for an easy gluten-free meal with plenty of delicious burger combinations. The service was fantastic and the app they use on the IPad is so handy to highlight any allergens.

If anyone has any questions about Red Robin feel free to ask.

Gluten-Free Apple and Almond Cake

Recently I wanted to make a decent, homemade cake with lots of apple inside.

I’ve been looking forward to playing around with different gluten-free flours and various other ingredients. The almond essence and soft apple is a perfect pairing for this cake and tastes amazing with custard, cream or ice-cream. Best eaten straight from the oven!

I have adapted this recipe from Buona Pappa and added a few more ingredients. For the original recipe visit the link below.

http://www.buonapappa.net/apple-cake-gluten-free/

  • 3 Apples (see notes)Mix
  • 80g Light Brown Sugar
  • 250g Rice Flour
  • 105g Margarine
  • 3 Eggs (whites and yolks separate)
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp of Xanthum Gum
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Almond Essence (see notes)
  • Lemon Juice
  • 1 Banana

The oven needs to be set to gas mark 6 and you will need a fairly big greased tin or dish. I used a large metal flan tin that was approximately 10 inches and quite shallow but it worked very well.

First you need to slice up all of the apple ready to put in the cake. Slice up one apple very thinly for the top decoration and chop the other two apples for the cake mix. Sprinkle lemon juice onto the apple to stop it going brown.

Apple Slices

Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Whilst this is going on, add the almond essence, egg yolk, banana, baking powder, salt and xanthum gum and mix. Slowly add the flour.

To add extra volume to the cake it helps to whisk the egg whites till their stiff and very gently fold into the cake batter. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and top with apples however you wish. Bake for 30 minutes.

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Notes

In my cake I used a Pink Lady apple for the top decoration and a medium cooking apple for the cake mixture. In hind sight I wish I had added way more apple to the sponge which is why I have increased the amount in the recipe.

The almond essence can be replaced with all sorts of things. For example, you could add vanilla with a bit of cinnamon, fruit juice or even apple sauce.

Please note, the day after the sponge does become quite dry. I did however, try it with yogurt which as delicious!

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The Free From Bakehouse Review

Free From Bakery

I feel like being diagnosed coeliac at the end of my rent contract was a total waste of living in London for two years. My one regret is that I didn’t visit enough of the quirky, gluten-free places there are to eat in London. Despite visiting Borough Market on multiple occasions I never looked at The Free From Bakehouse twice as there were too many other delicious (not gluten-free options) on sale.

The day I left my little flat I took my mum and a friend to Borough Market for lunch, especially because I knew I could find something there without it being much hassle.

On approaching the stall the first thing I noticed was that everything looked exciting, nicely decorated and well baked. Nothing looks gluten-free or flavour-free. The prices are fair, not too high considering you are in London and in comparison to the other non-gluten-free bakery stalls the products are similar prices. Originally I wanted one of their new savoury muffins but sadly they were all out, so I opted for an ‘Oak Smoked Chedder, Leek and Potato Tart’ and a slice of their ‘Pear, Parsnip and Sea-salted Caramel Cake’.

The lady serving was very polite, apologised for not having any more savoury muffins and ensured that she picked me out the largest slice of cake and scooped the lost caramel into the plastic tray. For £2.50 the slice is huge and had plenty of salted caramel which complimented the pear beautifully. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the dried pears that are used in the cake, I found the pieces a little bit dry and made the sponge a little lumpy. However, saying that I thoroughly enjoyed the cake and can’t wait to replicate it at home (with lots and lots of extra salted caramel!).

As for the Oak Smoked Chedder, Leek and Potato Tart, leek will always be a winner for me but at £3.50 a tart I did feel this was a little overpriced as the cake was about three times the size of the tart. I re-heated my tart when I got home for dinner, but not before I placed a slice of pancetta on the top for extra flavour. The pastry was delicious and I would love to know how they make it.

Overall my experience of The Free From Bakehouse was great, there was a bit of a queue but the wait was totally worth it. It is definitely worth visiting Borough Market not matter what your dietary requirement as there is plenty of choice and a great atmosphere for any foodie! Take a look at their website, it shows you all their products and prices, alongside the places you can find their products.

http://www.sugargrain.com/

Notes

I apologise for the lack of photos with this post, sadly about ten minutes before I visited Borough Market I smashed my phone! I did manage to get one lonely photo of my cake.

Gluten-Free Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp Bars

Breakfast is a huge struggle for me, especially now I can’t just throw a piece of bread in the toaster.

So I began searching for an alternative gluten-free breakfast bar that I could make to give me a quick jump start for the day. I stumbled across a fantastic blog @ www.smittenkitchen.com with an incredible recipe for strawberry and rhubarb crisp bars. For the original recipe, click below.

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/05/strawberry-rhubarb-crisp-bars/

With a bag full of frozen rhubarb in the freezer and a tin of strawberries in my cupboard I decided that nothing was going to stop me turning this recipe gluten-free.

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  • 80g Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
  • 110g Gluten-Free Flour (I used Doves Farm Plain Flour)
  • 1 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 1 tsp Xanthum Gum
  • 95g Light Brown Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 85g Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 1 tsp Cornflour
  • 1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar (to sprinkle on the fruit)
  • 155g Diced Rhubarb
  • 125g Diced Strawberries (see notes)
  • 1 tbsp Icing Sugar

First, line a baking tray or dish with parchment and turn the oven on to 170C. I’ve used various sized tins for this but found that as long as the tin isn’t ginormous, this recipe will work.

Over at Smitten Kitchen, she mixed all of the ingredients in the dish that they would be baked in, which saves time, washing up and is nice for serving and cutting at the dinner table. However, I used a bowl to mix together the oats, flour, xanthum gum, salt and light brown sugar.

Next I melted the butter in a saucepan and poured it over the dry ingredients. I felt that the mix just wasn’t combining together well so I added about a table spoon of golden syrup at this stage. This made it nice and sticky. You need to leave 1/3rd of the crumble mix to the side for the topping but press the rest into the baking tray or dish.

Strawberry and Rhubarb

Then take the diced fruit and place half of it onto the base. The sprinkle with the light brown sugar and corn flour before placing the rest of the fruit on top. To finish, sprinkle the 1/3rd of the crumble on top and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Once baked, slice them into squares or bars and leave them to cool.

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These bars are delicious for breakfast or can be served as a dessert. My sister poured custard all over hers and exclaimed that they were the best thing I’d made in ages!

Notes

Please note that if you follow a gluten-free diet due to coeliac disease, you may not be able to eat gluten-free oats as they may also make you ill. It is best to check with your dietician.

I have tried to make these bars using both fresh and tinned strawberries. I was concerned that the tinned strawberries may make the bars too soft and hard to hold but actually, it wasn’t any softer than the bars I made with the fresh strawberries! The main difference was the colour, fresh strawberries create a much brighter pink.

Zesty Orange Gluten-free Shortbread

The first thing I started to miss as soon as I went gluten-free was a decent biscuit.

Cookies, digestives, rich tea, bourbons, shortbread, hobnobs, you name it – I miss it.

So the first thing I wanted to make was a biscuit. How bad could gluten-free shortbread be? I chose to use BBC Good Food’s ‘Crisp orange shortbread’. Nice and simple.

  • 100g ButterShortbread Dough
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 175g Gluten-free Flour
  • ½ tsp of Gluten-free Baking Powder
  • Zest of an orange

Oven on gas mark 5, baking tray prepared. Cream the butter and sugar together, then stir in the flour, zest and baking powder and form into a dough.

This recipe will make around 10 biscuits.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2012/crisp-orange-shortbread

To make my quite plain shortbread look a bit more appealing I used these quirky little stamps that make the more simple biscuits look fantastic.

Home Made

Asda sold this cookie stamp as part of a set of three for £3. Sadly, they no longer sell the three pack anymore but they do however sell two stamps for £3. You can find them using the link below.

http://direct.asda.com/george/george-home/George-Home-Baking-Stamps-Set/001469973,default,pd.html

In reflection, I found this was an easy dough to work with but once baked the shortbread was a little too dry and crumbly for me. Since baking them I have used them for a quick and easy dessert which you can find on my instagram page @thelazywhisk. I took dollop of yogurt, some fruit and crumbled the shortbread on top!

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Nothing ventured, nothing gained

After 2 years at The National Bakery School I have learnt that it is important to get your name out there, network and establish where you want to go in the future. For me, this means creating a brand name to use on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter to keep my profession and home life separate as I venture out into the world.

‘The Lazy Whisk’ summarises baking, simplicity and my ‘off the wall’ personality. This blog will be used to showcase my work, the recipes I try out along the way and reviews of companies and products on the market. I’m hoping The Lazy Whisk will be the start of something great.