Thursday, 8 May 2008

Gluten free Sticky Toffee Pudding (egg free, dairy free, gluten free, vegan)

Now I know I’ve gone on about being an untidy slattern before, and I was getting to the point where I’d resigned myself to my scruffy state. However, I reckoned without one of my über-clean and tidy friends.

‘What you need is the right tools’ she explained patiently.
‘Invest in the tools that will help you do the job efficiently and easily’.

I had no idea there was such science behind having the perfect house.

I got very excited by the ‘investing in the right tools’ theory that might change my life, and happily embarked upon some retail therapy. The price of this particular purchase did make me blink a little, but my friend’s evangelical voice spurred me on. When the sales assistant announced the sum required, I disguised my wince as a cough and played the music in my car really loud all the way home. I find that helps. Play something edgy like Ms Dynamite and you’ll soon have forgotten all your woes.

Friends, it was a steam cleaner. Not a housewife’s steam cleaner, but a big, powerful bad boy that made me stand a notch taller and thrust my pelvis a little. I felt the urge to recline over the handle, pat my machine nonchalantly and say,
'10 bar coming out of my hose, how about yours?’

I first started on the windows. I’ll tell you straight, they hadn’t been cleaned for a year or so – what? – and the difference was astounding. It took just a few minutes, and I realised that it is actually possible to see through the kitchen window. I had thought it was some sort of French frosted glass. I have happily used my steam cleaner for various tasks; it’s a boon when it comes to removing urine from car seats. Please, don’t ask me about it.

Then last week I thought I’d discovered a satellite function of the steam cleaner; insect removal. It’s Spring, and the first bit of sunshine brings them out; ants. I can’t stand them. I once left a Camembert out on the kitchen worktop for a few days to get it to that delicious, melting, ‘did someone die in here?’ stage. I came down one morning and the ants had carried it from one end of the work surface to the other, and were swarming all over my circle of happiness. They form part of the axis of insect evil.

So I was fairly horrified when I found they had invaded a corner of my house. Then the steam cleaner caught my eye. I was going to use my WMD on them. I took up position, and from a great height gently depressed the trigger.

You know I once went to a gun club in China. A wealthy Chinese man had chosen the ‘Terminator Option’ for the day, and I watched appalled as he turned a mounted machine gun on a tethered chicken. You can imagine the result. Yet fast forward 10 years and here I was - ack! ack! ack! ack! - all visible ants dead. (In fact it was more of a Psssssssssssssshht). I had a regretful look at the collateral damage - the landlord's wooden floor was looking a lot paler- and switched off the cleaner. 10 minutes later there were more ants. A few more times I laid waste to great swathes of ants, but they kept sending in reinforcements. Fearless ants, convinced of their mission, ready to die for their cause.

My eldest girl took control of the proceedings;
‘Ok, coming in at 2 o’clock, there Mum! Steady... behind you, lock on, NOW!’

She’s very excitable and I got caught up in her frenzied shouting, nearly sustaining a third degree burn to the foot. After an hour or so I was feeling a little dispirited as they just kept on coming. We were clearly overwhelmed, and retreated to a safe distance.

M cocked her head on one side,
‘Mum, I know this sounds a bit mad, but do you think by steaming them it makes them repeat themselves?’ she looked a bit sheepish as if I might laugh.
‘I think that’s a very sensible theory dear, they must be magic repeating ants’.
In the end we went with the squirty bottle and washing up liquid ploy that we learnt about on Google.

Yet even that wasn’t a magic cure, I had to repeatedly go back to the corner and squirt. I spent the evening trying out my sticky toffee pudding recipe. In between weighing, measuring, chopping and baking, I had to keep squirting the ants. I may have won the first battle, but I was close to losing the war. In the end I had to go nuclear on them; I found their nest and boiled them alive. It was not my finest moment.

Fortunately the pudding was a direct hit first time.

Steam Cleanin', Ant Killin' Sticky Toffee Pudding
(makes 6-8 puddings depending on which version and size of ramekin)
Bear with me on the cup measurements, I'm doing my best. All emails pointing out my errors gratefully received.

You know I don't have too much to say about this pudding - barring the usual 'mmm yum, get your chops round that' - but I would urge you to chop the dates finely. Simply because they look a little too much like cockroaches don't they? What with the ant thing going on in the lounge I was not feeling kindly disposed towards any insect brethren. I chopped my dates viciously, and very finely indeed.

1. Egg free, dairy free, gluten free version:
175g /1 ¼ cups (not pressed down) stoned dates
170ml boiling water / scant ¾ cup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g / scant ½ cup dairy free spread150g / ¾ cup white sugar
2 heaped tsps 'no egg' egg replacer
4 tbsps rice milk
1 heaped tbsp ground linseeds (grind whole linseeds in your blender- peasy)
1 small pinch of xanthan gum100g / ¾ cup firmly packed brown rice flour
50g / scant ½ cup potato flour
25g / scant ¼ cup corn flour (corn starch)
½ tsp xanthan gum
1½ tsp gf baking powder2 tbsp rice milk

2. Egg free, dairy free with wheat flour version:
Use the first 11 ingredients listed in 1. above
Replace the gluten free flours with
175g / 1½ cups of white wheat flour
use 1½ tsps of baking powder
Omit the ½ tsp of xanthan gum
Use another 4-8 tbsps of rice milk

3. Gluten free with eggs version:
Use the first 7 ingredients listed in 1. above.
Replace the egg replacer, 4 tbsps rice milk, ground linseeds and pinch of xanthn gum with:
2 eggs
Use the gluten free flours, baking powder and xanthan gum as explained in 1. above
Use another 2-4 tbsps rice milk

For the sauce:
165g / 1 cup dairy free spread
165g / heaped ¾ cup demerara or dark brown muscovado sugar
30g / ¼ cup dairy free dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
2-4 tbsps grand marnier (optional)

  • Grease 8, 9cm ramekins. Heat the oven to 170° Celsius
  • Finely chop the dates (can you see that cockroach resemblance?) and put them into a mixing bowl
  • Add the bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and vanilla extract
  • Pour over the boiling water, stir well to combine and set aside
  • If you are using 'no egg', put the 'no egg', 4 tbsps rice milk, ground linseeds and pinch of xanthan gum into a bowl and mix with a mini whisk to remove any lumps. Set aside
  • Place the dairy free spread and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Beat together until they are incorporated
  • Add either the 'no egg' mixture or the two real eggs and beat well
  • If using GF flour, seive in the rice flour, potato flour, cornflour, xanthan gum and baking powder. Mix until combined. You may find the mix is too stiff at this point, in which case, add 2 tbsps rice milk and try again. Don't go overboard and add too much, you've still got the sloppy date mix to add, and we can sort the consistency out in a minute
  • If using wheat flour, seive in the wheat flour and baking powder and mix to combine. See above bullet point if the mix is too stiff
  • Add the date mixture and give it a good stir. At this point add the extra rice milk to give your mix a sloppy consistency. The GF/egg mix looks relatively sloppy at this point, but I would add the extra rice milk, I think the end result is better. You may find that with the egg free, dairy free, gluten free version the mix isn't really sloppy. Don't worry too much, it should be fine once cooked.
  • I wonder how many more times I can write 'sloppy'?
  • Divide the mix between your ramekins until they are all about ¾ full. Place them on a baking or pizza tray and put them in the oven
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, but all ovens are different, so keep a watchful eye. They are cooked when they are well risen, golden brown on top and an inserted skewer comes out clean. If the tops are browning too much and the middle is still gooey, cover the tray with tin foil until the middles are cooked
  • With the exception of the Grand Marnier, place all the ingredients for the sauce into a large saucepan, now turn your attention back to the oven...
  • When your darling puddings are cooked, remove from the oven and leave to stand whilst you quickly rustle up the sauce. Don't worry about your guests, they're chatting happily, and judging by the amount of red they've drunk, they're not going to notice if this pudding doesn't arrive for another hour
  • Stirring continuously, heat the dairy free, sugar and chocolate over a low heat until melted. The sauce will thicken and bubble slightly. I do apologise if you're a sticky toffee pudding purist and you object to chocolate in the sauce, but in these times of milk allergies, we have to substitute that creamy, fatty taste somehow, and the result is yummylicious
  • Turn off the heat, add the grand marnier if using, and set the sauce aside
  • Now, run a knife around the edge of your puddings to dislodge them a bit, then upend them onto their serving plates
  • Lean over them and inhale their steam
  • Now drizzle/pour over the sauce and triumphantly carry the pudding through to your guests
  • I suppose if you can tolerate cream you could serve this with a thick double cream, although the pudding is rich and satisfying without any additions. I personally don't think ice cream would go too well; the pud is so sweet I think it all might make your teeth ache.
  • Pig in the Kitchen cannot be held responsible for dental fees, root canal horrors, or gingivitis

The pictured version of the pudding is egg free, dairy free, gluten free.
© Pig in the Kitchen

Food & Drink Blogs - Blog Top Sites


Nikki-ann said...

That looks delicious! Another recipe I'm going to have to try... Thanks for sharing :)

Mya said...

I'm drooling,Pig. A bit more than I normally do. What a delicious pud.
Try fresh mint leaves on the ants. Also, chalk can work - draw a great big circle around them on the floor and watch them baulk at crossing it. Talc is good too.Personally, I find a good thwack with a flip-flop does the trick.

Mya x

Brom said...

Rutheless little Piggy arn't you, once you get going. You know that governments monitor all blogs, so don't be surprised when a chap in a unifirm turns up one day seeking your help as a 'consultant'!

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to why you needed a gun in China, did you have an ant problem there too?
could you leave a false trail out into the garden for the ants, (but not one of those delicious sticky toffee puds), so you can live in harmony? According to the news, we waste oodles of uneaten food, (I challenge anyone to find unused stuff here), so you must have SOMETHING you could tempt them away with?

Lunar, (off to raid the neighbours food storage bins so she can make Pigs puds)....GOVERNMENT PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF LUNAR'S RECYCLING EFFORTS....

Pig in the Kitchen said...

hello nikki-ann, do hope you enjoy it!

Morning MYA, drool away girl, it cleans out the saliva glands. I reckon. thanks for top ant-busting tips...found another infestation yesterday. must whizz out and buy some flip flops (any excuse) expressly for ant-killing purposes.

Brom, how exciting. I could be Pig in camouflage wielding a big powerful something...

anon/Lunar, i didn't own a gun in china! i can't really remember how we ended up in the gun club...i think we were really scraping the bottom of the 'how shall we fill our weekend?' barrel. i know, bizarre. The natural ant-loving way is probably the path i should take, thank-you for the gentle reminder. V. true about wasted food, and i heartily applaud your recycling initiative! thanks for visiting.

Grit said...

that pud looks wonderful. i shall show the picture to shark and propel her in the direction of the kitchen.

on the ant front i have no solution. it's not as if you can confine them under a glass and put them outside, so i guess some form of extermination. or try putting marmalade on the neighbour's lawn and see if you can tempt them elsewhere. (but don't let the neighbour catch you, obviously.)

Naomi Devlin said...

Yes Yes Yes! treacle pudding with thick unpasteurised jersey cream (sound of Homer style drooling). Ah how I miss treacle and cream......Just the sort of pudding you need after a battle with the insect axis of evil (still have tears in my eyes hee hee)

I also have just discovered an ant problem. I first realised something was amis when little mounds of earth started appearing on the lawn. Fearing a tiny mole invasion I knocked the top off one to find out that the lawn was infested with red ants! AAArrg! Just purchased some death to ants powder I'm afraid. It really goes against my organic sensibilities, but after a few bites I was overcome with a red mist and turned into ant schwarzennegger. It's ant powder at dawn around here now.

PS. I WANT your steam cleaner.

x x x

Iota said...

That tethered chicken story is horrible.

I didn't know you can steam clean windows.

Um, nothing very intelligent to say here. That sticky toffee pudding picture has disengaged my brain cells.

the mother of this lot said...

Looks lip-smackin', thirst-quenchin', ace-tastin' and motivatin' as well. And if you remember that Pepsi ad, you're older than you would have us believe!

family affairs said...

Just popping in to introduce myself as we were both in the same list on Saturday...I was an brought up in HK and spent a bit of time in China, so can picture your nightclubbing the photos x

dulwichmum said...

How incredibly satisfying? Both the baking and the mass murder. Good for you, and thanks for being a great pal.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Nice pud! Steam cleaning ants...? Possibly going a tad too far. We have some great gel purchased in Spain years ago which is now illegal, you put it down as soon as you see them and you don't see them again until next year or the year after. I dread to think what's in it if they've banned it in Spain now.
We have a steam cleaner - can't ever be bothered to get it out though.
I shall return soon to catch up wtih everything I've missed.
Amanda x

Pig in the Kitchen said...

grit, just been verbally abused by the neighbour. She caught me smearing marmalade over her fence and lawn at 3am. 'Mais ca va pas non?' she said, then proceeded to hurl some of those choice insults at me (and a few of the actions) that i talked about earlier in the week. So thanks for that great tip.

ND, ohhh thick cream! get thee behind me, you will cause me to break my diet! good to hear about your similar ant meltdown, and to know you too are possessed of serial killer rage. Good luck.

Iota, I was aghast. If you could have seen the size of the machine gun, heard the noise and watched him gradually bear down on the chicken...yuk. the ONLY way to clean windows is with a steam cleaner methinks. thanks for your comment intelligent or otherwise (!)

TMOTL, now your mention of that ad stirred vague memories. I think I remember my great grandmother showing me some cine footage of how things were in the...60's was it? glad you like the pud.

Hello FA, how sweet of you to drop by, as soon as i've finished this, i'm popping over. I love HK! we used to escape for some R&R occasionally when we were in China... I used to kiss the first world ground as i got off the plane!

DM, hello love, I bet you feel like doing a bit of mass murder at the moment? I should DHL some of this pud over to you, to soothe your angst. It's that 'head above the parapet' syndrome isn't it? Some small minded people have nothing better to do with their lives than be vicious. Keep going!

A@LF, hurrah! you've surfaced! I was worrying about you over the weekend and hoping all was ok. I'll be over soon to see how you are. And don't you DARE get your steam cleaner out, i'm sure the doctor is advising against heavy lifting??!
psst, just between you and me, could you get me some of that gel? I want the premium grade stuff, i'm willing to pay top whack.

Milla said...

Howdy, pig, who's a clever little piggy then! Am pretending terribly not to be the tiniest bit bright green with envy.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Hello Milla, hmmm? Sorry? oh right, are you talking about THIS...


Sally-Anne said...

This looks fab - can't wait to try it.

Sympathise with your ant problem - have resorted to boiling water, bleach and even fire in the past. It holds them back but they do eventually reappear.

Thought you might like to know about a fab product I found the other day in Waitrose. Indulgent Deelights from Free to Enjoy. The whole family loved them - not just my son with a gluten allergy. Think they do cereals too

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Sally-Anne, welcome! oh my, you have given me such a cool idea, a flame thrower! of course! that is going to cure my ants problem. It's amazing how the most obvious solutions sometimes pass you by...

And thanks very much for top tip about indulgent deelights. I will hunt some down on my next trip to UK. It's always such a joy when the whole family eats the same thing and the one with allergies isn't given something different.
Do drop by again!

Elsie Button said...

Far subtler than me pig!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

elsieB, ha ha! Not subtle really, just very gutted that I got edited out of the main article...(Pig lowers her heavy head onto her trotters and sobs bitterly)

GoneBackSouth said...

So I'll make a note: If I get gingivitis, I won't blame you.
I like the sound of the steam cleaner though - it sounds very handy to have around the house.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

GBS, I think you'd have to blame your cracked cups for the gingivitis, not me. Do you think gingivitis should be with a capital G? AFter all, a fairly awful thing to get.
Thoroughly recommend the steam cleaner (not for ants tho)i'm like one of those smiling women mopping my floor, you can see the shiny sheen from where i have steamed, and sometimes there's even a little 'ting!' sparkle that appears in the air.
right, i'm coming over to you straight away, i've been too rude...

Stay at home dad said...

Brilliant as ever Pig. Nearer to blogworld domination than ever. Keep thrusting...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

SAHD, mais merci! what a great world domination idea, I shall have to buy myself a cat and grow a third nipple. You know, like Mr Scaramanga. thrusting?? did you mean baking? Pig with bewildered look

Miss Thistle said...

Pudding looks delicious. I shouldn't be surprised that you own an industrial steam cleaner..given that you own a proper 'used by police' loud haler. You could always try asking them to go away with the loud haler. 'If you don't come out now I'll use the steam cleaner' kind of approach, you should of course buy a SWAT outfit for this for completeness. Love Miss Tx

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Miss T, as ever, a guru of knowledge. Of COURSE I should go and shout at them thru my loud HAILER (spelling love, spelling), I reckon, if i use the siren function I am home and dry when it comes to les fourmis...


Frog in the Field said...

Perhaps we should get Potty Mummy a steam cleaner to rid her of rodents??
Top recipee Pig!!
Good singing too by the way...gotta be fresh from the fi-ight!

Iota said...

Pig, I just want you to know that these days (21st century), you can go in an aeroplane across the Atlantic. It's a large metal flying machine, favoured by most people because it's quicker, although less environmentally friendly, than sailing. But thank you for your musical interlude on my blog. I will indeed remember you to CinP. He no longer comments as (a) he has some glitch with his blogger id and (b) he is intimidated by his burgeoning fan club.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

FITF, a good point about the rodent steam killing potential, but I suspect they are too quick. See Sally-Anne's comment above: fire is the way forward.

'Up where the mountains meet the heavens above
Out where the lightning splits the sea
I could swear there is someone somewhere
Watching me

Through the wind and the chill and the rain
And the storm and the flood
I can feel his approach
Like a fire in my blood

I need a hero...'
Bonnie Rocks.

Iota, you see, this is why I love blogging; i learn so much about the modern world. In FACT, (can i really 'fess up to this) I thought the 'silver girl' meant concorde. oh there it is, I've blown my cover, I'm officially a dullard. Well it's all good for you if you can fly in a plane back to Europe, SUCH shame about C in P, does he have my blog address??!!

Miss Thistle said...

I know, I know - I spend far too much time talking about 'inhalers'!! and as I age I think I have caught the spelling disease my mother seems to have acquired. I will keep my 'Chambers' closer to hand! or even use the splel chek.....

Pig in the Kitchen said...

MissT, spull chick duznt werk

Stay at home dad said...

a big, powerful bad boy that made me stand a notch taller and thrust my pelvis a little

Remember now? (How could you forget?)

elizabethm said...

Had to drop by to congratulate you on telegraph mention and step closer to world domination. When I saw you mentioned had to jump up and down going "I know her!" Am sharing Milla's pale greenness but trying hard to rise above it! Very well deserved for you though and fab pudding recipe. to be honest though I would read you without recipes and have had a wonderful chortle at the steam cleaner.
Onward and upward.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

SAHD, oh right, that innocent little line! I'm sure it doesn't mean what you're thinking....;-)

oh sweet ElizabethM! You have bought a big smile to my face, thank-you! Did you really jump up and down?! I understand the greeness...I was edited out of the main article (have i already mentioned that in this comments box? not that it went deep or anything...)and was fairly green myself when I read the gushing prose - about other people!!

Next stop world domination. Although I'd settle for a tidy, ant-free house!

gillie said...

Am I the only reader who thought you kept pigs? (okay so most people don't keep them in the kitchen - just wierd friends of my parents). Far better your bog is about people like me (the pig in my particular kitchen). That is a seriously gorgeous looking pudding, I am drooling at the pc (not a pretty sight). I am also even drooling at the thought of the steam cleaner - I have a household gadget problem, I am sure it can be addressed, probably by acquiring a fabulous steam cleaner like yours!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Gillie, as I look around this room, I'm beginning to think that I DO keep pigs...
You must give me the number of your parent's friends, I think they would make me feel much better about the state of my house! Thank you for kind comment about the pud, drool away, it's very good for the saliva glands I've heard. I wholeheartedly recommend a steam cleaner (it's got to be powerful tho), I'm beginning to see why men like power tools...!

Millennium Housewife said...

Piggy, just found your site and can think of numerous people who will weep at its existence! Keep it up and I'll pass on the link MH

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Hello MH, i do hope they'll be weeping with me and not at me. My self-esteem is rather brittle! Thanks for your visit, and i love the sound of you passing on my link.

(Very) Lost in France said...

Don't talk to me about ants. Suffering our first invasion here in the South West. Personally I think they teleport in from outer space. Fab recipe. I wish I'd known about your blog when my gluten intolerant friend came to visit.Where did you get your steam cleaner and will you come and do my windows :))

Frog in the Field said...

Hey Pig!
She's calling you a scrubber!!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

VLIF,my condolences for the ants. yes, damn shame you didn't know about my blog! the cleaner came from BHV...does that exist in the sticks, 600 kilometres didn't you say?! Do YOUR windows? Alas, I suspect windows should only be cleaned once in a lifetime.
(thanks for visiting)

FITF,nooooo! is she? Do i have to climb back up this comments box and give her what for??!!

girl with the mask said...

HOW HAVE I NOT FOUND YOU BEFORE NOW?! I am totally in to this whole blog-about-food-thing. So much more interactive than my blog about just EATING food!

I'll be back!

girlinthemask x

ExpatKat said...

Spotted one of the little devils here this morning. I'll be sure to use your tips to prevent the army from descending!
Toffee pudding looks to die for. xx

fordfocusmom said...

Ants? Don't talk to me about ants! I've done the Hoover/boiling water thing and it lasts for, oh, not long enough. As I Hoovered up the ants (whilst also trying to rustle up fish fingers etc. in minus five minutes), I asked myself why I was doing this and how come I missed that detail in the Housewife/Homemaker/Mother job description ....

Loved your writing - you tell it like it is!!

GoneBackSouth said...

Oh Pig, not rude at all. But I must confess I didn't really know what gingivitis was until this gay little exchange of mouth bacterial infection banter. So, I googled it, and now feel slightly queasy. Did you know, if it gets really bad, it can be called "Trench Mouth"! Definitely worthy of capital letters.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

GWTM, well i'm very glad you've found me now! hasta luego baby

expatKat, show no mercy! fight them on the beaches! I'm afraid many ants did die in the making of the pud. Not (i hastily add) IN the pud, just around the periphery...

FFM, welcome! You know you're right, I also missed the ant-killing module in the perfect home-maker training manual, let's hope the 2009 version will include it.