Saturday, 27 June 2009

Daring Bakers do Bakewell Tart

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England. so said the beginning of the post on the forum.

It was very nice to have a British recipe this time, we do puddings very well here if I do say so myself and by pudding I mean deserts in general. OK we don't do dainty pastries as well as the French but if you are looking for a good solid pudding to really round out a meal particularly in winter we have a wonderful range and a good few that work well at an afternoon tea too.

The Bakewell tart has three parts the pastry case, a jam layer and frangipane which is a sort of almond sponge. Traditionally the jam layer is strawberry or raspberry sometimes mixed with apricot but we were encouraged to make our own jam and while I like the jams mentioned above I had a craving for a curd. I planned to make lemon curd until I opened a recipe book and saw gooseberry curd and I happened to have exactly the right amount of gooseberries left from our recent fruit picking.

Obviously the pastry needed making gluten free and the frangipane recipe had a little flour in it too. However I remembered that there was a bakewell tart in Phil Vickery's Seriously Good Gluten-Free cooking so I decided to use his recipes.

The pasty is really very nice, rather short as it is made from corn flour and rice flour, though I had to replace half the corn flour with tapioca starch when i realised I didn't have a spare bag of cornflour as I thought ! He used lime juice as the liquid which worked very well and gave the pastry a nice kick. I ended up pressing the pastry into place as rolling it kept falling apart but my kitchen as pretty hot at the time which never helps pastry. It worked however even if it was a little rustic that way.

Part baked pastry with curd ready to spread out.

For the frangipane the only real difference ingredient wise between the official recipe and Phil's for frangipane was that his had one less egg and no flour so I used that ingredient mix.

Obviously by using gooseberry curd I did lose the visual bit where you see the jam layer when you cut the tart but it tasted fantastic and the hint of lime in the pastry with the curd and sweet almond topping worked very wel indeed.

Check out the host's blogs and Daring Baker blogroll to see other versions as well as full write ups of the original recipes.


100g rice flour
100g cornflour (corn starch) I used 50g corn flour, 50g tapioca starch
80g butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
juice of one small lime
finely grated zest of an orange

Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ gas 4

pur the flours and sugar in a mixer, mix well, add butter and blitz till resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the lime juice and zest and bring together. Forms a soft, some what crumbly dough. Either roll out quickly or press into a 24cm pie dish about 3cm deep. ine with greastproof paper and add baking beans. Bake for 15mins till lightly coloured.

Gooseberry curd (from Preserving self-sufficiency by Carol Wilson)
makes about 1kg (2lb 3oz)

450g (1lb) green gooseberries
2 Tbsp water
110g (4oz) unsalted butter
225g (8oz) caster sugar
3 large eggs

put gooseberries and water in a heavy based saucepan with the water as is (no need to top and tail). simmer gently till very soft, around 15 mins.

Remove from heat and push the mix through a sieve, reserve the puree for in a bit.

Put butter and sugar into a bowl and place over a pan of simmering, not boiling, water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Once the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved add the gooseberry puree.

Beat the eggs lightly and add to the bowl, stir. Cook over the simmering water until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20-30 mins.

Pour ino warmed steralised jars, cover with waxed disks and leave till cold before sealing lids tightly.


25g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, melted
125g (4.5oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds

oven 190 C

Put eggs and sugar in a mixer and beat till very stiff (about 15 mins on high). Pour in melted butter and mix carefully. Next fold in the ground almonds. Spread 6 tbsp of curd onto the pastry base and spoon the mixture on top. Bake for 20-25 mins or until the sponge is cooked and the pastry light brown. Cool and serve.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Muffin formula recipe

Sundried Tomato and feta cheese

I have been making muffins quite a bit mostly because I've developed a formula that seems to work be they savoury or sweet. They rise well and have a great texture. I've done cheese and marmite ones, chocolate ones, various different fruits, ham and cheese and several others.

Strawberry and Apple

The formula is based on several different recipes, some gluten free, some not. One of the things I did was combine things so I had a one bowl recipe, too many use three or four bowls and frankly we have limited space for dirty washing up and I don't want piles of unnecessary washing up. plus the simpler it is the more likely I am to do it regularly

Photo got hijacked this WAS a strawberry muffin. !!

Muffin formula

1/4 cup of liquid fat (olive oil, veg oil, melted butter)
2 eggs
1/4 liquid ( I mostly use yogurt or double cream but I have used fruit juice and that worked to)
1 cup flour mix
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (for savoury)
1- 1 1/2 cups of flavouring that includes sugar for sweet versions.
Ingredients for a cheese and tomato version minus the flour.

Pick a flour mix to suit your muffin flavour, make sure there is some bulking flour and some starch but most mixes seem to work. I've used Dove Farm plain flour mix, mixed my own rice based flour, used half Dove Farm, half gram flour for cheese ones and so on.

Pre heat the oven to 200 C and line a muffin tin with cake cases.

Prep your flavouring first up to 1 1/2 cups worth, ie grate cheese, chop fruit etc. If making sweet ones I use at most 1/3 cup of sugar and many sweet fruits we find work without sugar which is great for kiddy lunchboxes.

Beat the eggs and oil together than add the liquid and mix well.

Sieve in the flour mix and baking powder, plus salt if using, into the egg mix and fold in well.

Add flavours including sugar for sweet ones and mix well.

Spoon into cases, I use 9 for large muffins, 12 for cupcake size.

Cook at 200 C for 20mins for muffins and 15 for cupcakes.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Weekly Menu 22nd to 26th June 2009

Our blackcurrants last week, now they are pretty much all black.

This week I am hosting again and have chosen Blackcurrants as my ingredient. I adore blackcurrants, along with redcurrants, white currants and indeed the newest version we are growing josha berries which are a black currant and gooseberry hybrid.

The blackcurrant is grown a lot in the UK, apparently it was encouraged in world war two as it is extremely high in vitamin C. A lot is hyped about super foods here particularly fruits like blueberries and goji berries and many people seem to completely miss the blackcurrant which is just as good as either of those, as is the blackberry which our hedges will be thick with later in the year.

We have many sweets and pubbing that are blackcurrant flavoured though most of UK crop goes into one single product Ribena, which is a cordial. Blackcurrants are mostly used in puddings ie deserts but they can be used as a tart and strongly flavoured accompaniment to a savoury dish. Some people say they are too tart to eat raw but I would dispute that as would my 15 month old who i have been having to keep away from our small crop at the allotment. That should be ready to pick this week and I am hoping the pick your own farm with have them ready by next weekend along with raspberries (they had a few early ones last week).

If you have never tried them do look out for some or if you like liqueurs there is a fantastic french one called crème de cassis which is well worth trying.

My menu

Monday - Cauliflower cheese and a fresh salad from the allotment.

Tuesday - Rhubarb and carrot soup as I failed to make it last week.

Wednesday - Turkey stirfry, followed by blackcurrant fool as they should be ready by now.

Thursday - Moussaka

Friday - If the farm has some ripe ones by then or I have a few left from the allotment I want to do lamb or pork chops with a blackcurrant sauce.

The gluten free menu swap is currently hosted by Gluten Free Goodness, do pop over there and see who is next and even offer to host a week it's really easy. If you have a menu for me to mention either leave a comment here or email me at esther dot reeves at gmail dot com.

Wendy at Celiacs in the House has a 16th birthday party to cater and is doing an interesting sounding salad that was banned from the party for an adult event later in the week. Her kids sound pretty good though on what they will eat compared to many their age.

Heather at Celiac Family is having a kids choice week, sounds like her kids have some fantastic favourite meals. I'm very tempted to try her pork chops with black beans some time, I expect like her kids mine will not eat the beans but they do like chops..

Kim over at Gluten Free is Life has a lovely menu this week and it sounds like they had a great Father's day meal too.

Ginger at Fresh Ginger has a hectic sounding week and it is her first week of getting vegs from a CSA. If it is anything like our veg box I'm sure she will enjoy having a bunch of things to try. I love having things I wouldn't normally try.

Angela over at Angela's kitchen sounds like she has a packed week with all the sports and kids events she has on her schedule. She has some red currants growing in her yard which I love nearly as much as the black ones.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Menu plan 15th to 19th June 2009

This week the gluten free menu swap is posted by Gluten Free Goodness and she has picked raspberries as the ingredient of the week. I LOVE raspberries but they arn't quite in yet here so we will have to wait a week or two more but we have already pencilled in going back to the pick your own farm when they are ripe and hopefully the blackcurrants will be in as well. Some of you may have spotted I said go back, that is because we spent a lovely Sunday afternoon picking strawberries, gooseberries and rhubarb at the farm. The raspberries and blackcurrents were just starting to colour so it will not be long for those now and indeed the few we have on the allotment are getting close as well.

As you can see from the picture our smallest enjoyed himself very much as did his older brother, though the picture doens't really do justice to the amount of juice he managed to get down himself!. The older one has really proved to me that getting kids involved with where food comes from really does work as he was very keen to pick rubarb but would have turned his nose up at it if I just got it from the shop.
We have also harvested our first potatoes from the allotment which were wonderful though a week or two more and I think we would have several more of edible size. These ones are Red Duke of York and were fatastic just simply boiled. In fact Noddles insisted on having the pink potatoes from the allotment for his tea and Tom said he liked them better than the ones we got from our organic veg box.


Monday - lamb chops and salad followed by rhubarb and strawberry crumble.

Tuesday - Rhubarb and carrot soup (recipe here) because it sounds to interesting not to

Wednesday - Have extra five year old coming to tea so something like pizza.

Thursday - Quail, not sure how I'm cooking them but they are in the freezer and need eating

Friday - Fish in batter with summer vegs.

Baking - Strawberry muffins, dried strawberries, bread rolls or savory muffins. Possibly Rhubarb, cinnamon and brown sugar muffins too or rhubarb and custard cake.

Daring chinese Dumplings

I was extremely happy when I checked the hosting list and found out Jen from use real butter would be hosting this month. Jen is one of those bloggers I am in awe of, not only is her food to die for but her photograph skills are fantastic and her positive attitude has seen her through some very rough times but she still manages to post inspiring posts we can all learn something from.

I was even happier when I found out she had picked Chinese dumpings or pot stickers as the challenge recipe as I have been considering doing them since I saw a post she did about them ages ago but had never got round to it.. I have made a fantastic soup she posted several time though.

She even found a gluten free version for us though it used wheat starch in it which some were not convinced about. It always seems strange to me to use something that is that close to gluten as it was once part of the same grain but several companies making gluten free items over here use it so I am willing to believe it is gluten free. That said i don't have any and I DO have far too many other flours, so I have tried a different mix of flours to make my wrappers.
Filling Ingredients
I ended up making wrappers with a mix of tapioca and corn starches with brown rice flour. This is the recipe Jen suggested and in the main I followed it but I used 1/2 a cup each of Tapioca starch, cornflour(corn starch) and brown rice flour. The wrappers behaved fairly well and I really like the idea of putting between two bits of baking parchment and pressing flat with a pan it is SO much easier than rolling. They did taste a little stodgy when steamed but not unreasonably so and certainly I liked them well enough to think about trying again with a different flour combination probably a bit less tapioca (the original recipe was only 1/4 cup of that) and possibly more bulker type flour. I used a very English combination of bacon, onions and eggs for the filling but it still went very well with Jen's dipping sauce..

I also did some pot-sticker versions with strawberry inside for which the dough worked much better and I could certainly serve them again without getting complaints!.

To see other versions visit the Daring Kitchen.

Wrapper Dough (based on this recipe)

1/2 cup each of cornflour(corn starch for americans), tapioca starch and brown rice flour.
1/2 tsp salt
cup of boiling water
1 tsp oil

Mix the flours and salt together in a bowl and then add the oil and boiling water, stir together with a wooden spoon or other none heat retaining utensil (guess how I know that metal is a bad idea!). Once the dough has come together turn out onto a floured surface and kneed till it is smooth, soft but not sticky. I needed to add a bit more cornflour to stop it being sticky and I kept the knife and my fingers coated in corn flour while working with the dough.

Divide into 3, roll into 8 inch rolls and then cut into 6. You can keep them covered with plastic wrap so they don't dry out if you like.

Take a large piece of baking parchment or greaseproof paper, fold over and put one of the pieces between the sheets not too close to the fold. Press down on this with a pan.. you should get one circular wrapper.. You are aiming for 4 inches plus but be careful as to thin and you can't seal them without it breaking.
Then you need to spoon some filling into the middle, keep it small. Then fold over the rest to make a package. You are best off refering to other other recipe for this or indeed other Daring cook blogs as I didn't take any photos of this part and was very rough and ready in how I did it.

Once you have parcels either arrange on some cabbage or lettuce in a steamer and steam for about 6-7 mins or heat some oil in a pan, arrange them in a single layer in the pan, cook on each side till a bit brown (about 3 mins) then add 1/2 cup of water and cover, cook for 3 more mins on low then take off the lid and cook till the water is gone and the wrappers are browned.

Jen's dipping sauce:

2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)
sugar (optional)

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

I added the garlic and ginger from the optional bits and really liked it though I think I was a little heavy handed on the sesame for some of those in my house, next time I will make sure it is a drop or two!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Home grown salad

Sorry I've not been posting much. Nothing serious just busy.

However I had to post to show you my lunch ..
My very first bowl of totally home grown salad!
Two types of lettuce, rocket, beetroot thinnings and various colours of radish. May not sound much but although we have plenty of plants apart from a few berries as yet we haven't really started harvesting anything much and the weather here has gone from very sunny to very rainy so a nice summer salad reminds me it has been sunny and hopefully will be again and the rain is good for the plants !

I'm off shortly to help at the after school cooking club Noodles goes to. Last week, which was the first one, we made fruit kababs, which they very much enjoyed making and eating.