Monday, 28 January 2008

Buckwheat Pancakes (egg free, dairy free, gluten free)

I’m beginning to think there is a selective filter that is applied to certain childhood memories, that partially distorts the truth of the event.

Take for example the photo of my fifth birthday cake. It is a grainy image taken with a camera of dinosaur-era technology. Even as we speak some teenage whippersnappers are probably laughing at it in a museum. They’ve been dragged there as part of their ‘Historical Community and Technology Relations’ triple star – GCSTFEVQ. A qualification which will prepare them for a career in….something, and was certainly not dreamed up to help massage government education statistics and cut teenage pregnancy. Anyway, they are laughing at my parents’ camera, taking photos of it with their mobiles and conversing in a teenage patois all their own. To them, it is a relatively uninteresting diversion, yet that camera took the photo of my fifth birthday cake.

The photo in question shows a hedgehog cake. Whereas the clarity of the image isn’t really up to much, to me it is razor sharp and can stand proudly alongside any photo-shopped, airbrushed beauty of the modern era. Look at the chocolate butter icing. It’s not margarine you know, it’s artery-clogging butter. Lovingly smeared on, then pierced at strategic intervals with almond spines. Look at how my Mum has shaped the face and the nose, how did she do that? It was a culinary masterpiece. And that’s what I retain about the cake. A lovely-to-look-at picture that goes with my vague memories of a mad party in the garden. David Lobb came to that party. I wonder where David Lobb is now?

What the photo doesn’t show is the hours of preparation that went into that cake. Did she run out of icing sugar at a crucial moment? Did the first attempt fail completely and she was forced to start over at 2 in the morning? You see, the photo just doesn’t give any inkling of that; it shows another childhood birthday success story.

I completely fell for those childhood photos that show Christmas dinners, New Year buffets and birthday teas. Effortless rituals easily performed. So it was a bit of a shock when I started to try and recreate those childhood successes for my own children. Birthdays, Christmas, Feasts and Festivals, I determined that all of them had to have the perfect food of my childhood. So Pancake Day was always going to be done with panache and style; it was going to become a delightful memory for my little ones.

Why, does no-one tell you how hard it is to make pancakes single-handedly with 3 small children crying for their tea? Why make Pancake Day a Tuesday, when which modern-day husband is going to be home to help? It should definitely be switched to a Saturday. Look, if Easter can float around willy-nilly, landing anywhere between March the 1st and April the 30th, then Mardi Gras can most certainly become Crêpe Samedi.

My first Pancake Day bonanza was a flop. It metaphorically curled up in the pan, then convulsed and landed on the floor. The big build up from me was a mistake;

‘It’s Pancake Day! Yes, P-A-N-C-A-K-E DAY! (bear in mind my eldest was 3, middlest was nearly 2, and the youngest 5 months) Mummy make Pancakes!’

I clapped my hands, smiled crazily and whipped them up into an excited frenzy. Teatime couldn’t come fast enough for them. My second mistake? I attempted to make a wholesome tea – which with 3 little children is a day’s work anyway – and then serve pancakes. I seem to recall that I had not made the batter in advance, so had to string out the excited, raised–eyebrowed, cheek-aching grin as I cracked eggs and weighed out flour. Full nappy be damned, I can’t change it now, I’m making super pancakes!

Finally it was all ready, and with a flourish I began. It was here that I realised; I couldn’t make pancakes. It was not something I had ever made with any degree of success. I had completely forgotten that the first ones fail as you get the temperature of the pan right. I had forgotten that when you try and toss them – the only vaguely interesting bit for children – they don’t fly thrillingly up to the ceiling spinning like Torvill and Dean in their heyday; they jerk spasmodically in the pan before flying a few inches north then falling back as a stodgy plop in the pan.

I wish someone had told me that you don’t have to make every festival and ritual a resounding success. That if your Pancake Day bombs, it doesn’t mean you have failed as a Mother, and ruined their childhood. I wish I’d realised that children’s happy childhood memories come gradually. That they are formed - pixel on pixel - over the years, until perhaps one day they can look back at the photos of their past and feel happy and contented.

I also wish someone had told me that by the time my eldest was 8 I’d be a dab hand at Pancakes, and that I’d rustle up this egg free, dairy free, gluten free batch without breaking a sweat. I do hope you enjoy them on the forthcoming Mardi Gras!

Childhood Buckwheat Pancakes (Makes approximately 10, perhaps a few more)

May my eldest daughter’s life be long, happy and healthy. We had an early pancake day last Sunday, so that I could trial this recipe. When the pancake fest was in full swing she came twirling into the kitchen; curls bouncing, blue eyes shining, pretty mouth smiling;

‘Mum! You make such delicious pancakes! Your blog cooking will go down in history with my children…and with my children’s children!’ Ahhhh....

It's best to make the batter about 20 mins before you need it, but if all the wheels are falling off your teatime bus, then make it and cook it; if they're hungry they'll eat!

100g rice flour (I used brown rice flour)
50g cornflour
90g buckwheat flour
0.5tsp Xanthan Gum
2 heaped tsp of ‘no egg’ egg replacer mixed with 4 tbsp rice milk
2 tbsp oil
800-850ml rice milk
More oil to fry

  • Mix up the 'no egg' with the rice milk and whisk until all the lumps are gone. Add the 2 tbsp of oil
  • Put the flours and xanthan gum into a large mixing bowl, stir until thoroughly mixed together
  • Make a bit of a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the 'no egg' and oil. Pour in 800ml of rice milk (add the extra 50ml later if you think the mix is too thick; you may not need it) and mix vigorously until everything is combined. Whisk it now until there are no lumps and it's bubbly on the surface (about 2 mins should do it)
  • Leave for about 20 mins if possible, the mixture will thicken a little. The kind of consistency you are aiming for is something approaching double cream...or double cream merging into single cream. You know what? I don't think the consistency is a deal breaker...if it's too thick you'll have lovely stodgy pancakes, if it's too'll have thin pancakes, and you could always seive in a tbsp extra of rice flour. Let's make Mardi Gras about relaxing, not stressing about our pancakes, what do you think?
  • Where was I? Oh yes, when your pancake batter is ready, take a pancake pan (and yes, they really are better than regular frying pans...just nip out and buy one, slot it under 'household expenditure' in your budget, and you don't need to feel the least bit guilty) and put it on the hob on a low-medium heat
  • Pour about 4 tbsp of oil into a small bowl and place the small bowl onto a plate. Take some kitchen towel, scrunch it up and dip it into the oil, now smear it around your pancake pan, thus leaving an oily film over the surface of the pan. Put the kitchen towel back onto the plate, you'll need to repeat the pan-oiling manoeuvre for the next pancake
  • Here comes the bit I find tricky; the temperature of the pan. You don't want the oil to be smoking, but it must be quite hot. It generally takes me a few pancakes before the pan and I are working in perfect harmony
  • When you think the pan is hot enough, take a ladle of pancake batter. Lift the pan off the heat and start to pour in the batter. As soon as the batter hits the pan, gently incline the pan and rotate it at the same time so that the batter starts to spread and run into a perfect circle shape. If it looks more like a starfish, it really doesn't matter
  • Once the batter has stopped running and is beginning to set, place the pan back on the heat and watch it like a hawk for about 30 seconds. The edges should go crispy and the middle will start to thicken and develop bubbles on the surface
  • As the edges crisp, take a blunt knife and very gently loosen them so that they don't stick to the pan. Once the edges are free, try to slide your knife / silicone spatula / whatever under the pancake to loosen it. Give the pan a shake or two, and hopefully soon, the pancake will be released and will slide around the pan when you shake it. When it's ready, it should be lightly browned on the underside
  • Now, remove the pan from the heat, remove all children to a safe distance and launch that cake to the sky. I accept no responsibility for the consequences of your action. Alternatively, use a spatula to gently flip the pancake, but that really is the cautious option isn't it? Is that how you want to live your life?
  • Allow the pancake to brown on the other side, then slide it calmly onto a plate. You are perfect, well done
  • Serve with a topping of your choice
  • Repeat all of the above until pancake mix has gone
  • Enjoy your Mardi Gras. Why is it those words conjure up images of smiling Brazilian women in spangly thongs wearing feather headdresses, rather than rolled up pancakes? Bizarre...

© Pig in the Kitchen Jan 2008

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Monday, 21 January 2008

Lentil Stew (egg free, dairy free, gluten free)

The thought of being caught in a love triangle sounds rather exotic doesn’t it? Like I’m a glamorous 1950’s star calmly sipping a cocktail whilst two rugged men square up to each other and fight for the right to buy me diamonds.

The reality is, alas, a little different. One point of my love triangle is of course me. The other two points are made up of a sturdy lass named Appetite (we’ll call her A) and at the other point is a toned, athletic, sleek, handsome brute named Exercise (we’ll call him E). You’d think there’d be no contest, right? I mean who would you rather be with?

The trouble is, A and I have so much history. For as long as I can remember she has been a loving, comforting friend. In the early days it was great. I’d spend just as much time as I needed with her, and come away feeling satisfied, but not overwhelmed in any way. I’m not really sure when things started to change, did she get jealous as I pored over my books in order to pass my exams? Was it when I was dumped by a boyfriend? At some point there was a change in the way she dealt with me. When I’d had enough and wanted to stop, she’d offer me more and more and more food. She is so persuasive, seductive, sensual and comforting; which girl could say no?

Then along came E. I was bowled over on the very first day. He was so versatile; no sport was too much for him. Swimming, gymnastics, cross-country running, rounders, netball, cycling, rock climbing; he showed me how to do it all. I loved being with him. For a while it was fine. I’d spend time with E and then be really happy to see A; she liked my increased desire for her.

Then somewhere it all went wrong. Life would get in the way and I’d have no time to see E. Appetite kept on with her feminine wiles, and a lot of the time I’d eat just to please her, even when I didn’t really want to. Then I’d swing back to E, A would get jealous, I would get miserable, and again I’d eat just to please her. So don’t believe the hype; being in a love triangle is no fun.

It always comes to a head over Christmas. I don’t know what gets into A but she is at her most domineering,
‘Here, eat this, go on. What do you mean you don’t want chocolate for breakfast? It’s Christmas, everyone does it. Have another drink, and another, now mix it with Baileys, what is wrong with you? You’re so boring’.

This year, I snapped on Boxing Day. I stormed out of the house and spent some time with E on the trampoline. I came back feeling refreshed, but A’s face of thunder made me anxious. Yet I’d promised that I would see Exercise the next day. We got on our bikes and went to the woods to get down and dirty. It was so cool; I skidded on ice, fell off, and my wheels got so churned up with mud they wouldn’t move and I had to get off and push. We arrived back at the house filthy and happy.

A was waiting for us on the drive and I immediately felt worried. There's no delight when I see her anymore, all the old magic has gone. E saw the look on my face and spoke gently to us both,

‘Look, it doesn’t have to be like this, we can all get along together. A, you need to stop being so controlling and Pig you just have to learn to say no. And A, you’ve got to give Pig some space, she needs to come out with me, it makes her feel good. Both of you need to just try and relax’.

A and I nodded obediently. I tried to control the fluttering of my heart; I knew he was talking sense, and perhaps this year we might all find a balance? I really hope so.

A seemed in a contrite mood as she placed my lunch before me that day,
‘I’ve been too conniving’ she said, ‘let’s just try and be friends, and I promise I won’t try and dominate’.
I smiled lovingly at her, it's so good when we're relaxed together.
‘Look’ she said, ‘I’ve made you this healthy stew for lunch. Eat as much as you need. It’ll help your sluggish digestion and you’ll feel really smug when you’ve eaten it’.
I happily did as she told me and even agreed to have a mince pie for pudding; well, love is all about give and take isn’t it?

Love Triangle Lentil Stew (feeds 6)

If you are fighting with post-Christmas weight, this wholesome stew is for you. How can I put this delicately - I wouldn't want to use the term 'laxative' as that might imply I have some sort of eating disorder, and I'm definitely denying that - but let's just say if you need to speed those excess kilos on their way, this dish might help.

The vegetables listed below are just a guide, you can mix and match depending on what is in your fridge, or going off in your organic veg box.

150g Puy lentils (weighed before cooking)
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic (less if you prefer)
3 large mushrooms
4 carrots
Potatoes: Count 1 large potato per person, then a few more for luck
200g (approx) of green beans
2 tsp paprika
2 tbsps gluten free yeast extract
200ml red wine
1tbsp gluten free Dijon mustard
1-2 tbsp tomato puree
1-1.5 litres of boiling water
Olive oil to fry
crushed red chillis / fresh green chilli entirely optional

Note this is not a thick gravy stew, the juice is quite runny to let you soak it up with lots of bread. If you prefer a thick stew, then thicken it with cornflour and water (see the packet for instructions) right at the end.

  • Cook the puy lentils as per the packet instructions. They usually take around 20-30 minutes. You don't want them to be too soft (they have a little time in the stew at the end), so make sure they don't turn to mush . Set the lentils aside; they can be prepared up to 4 hours before if necessary
  • Prepare all the veg: peel the potatoes, peel the carrots, top, tail and chop the beans. Chop the potatoes into chunks or rounds, same for the carrots. Chop the mushrooms and finely chop the garlic
  • Put the onion, garlic, carrots and mushrooms into a large saucepan with a lid
  • Glug in some olive oil and put the pan over a low heat, stirring to prevent sticking
  • After a few minutes add the paprika and stir. Put the lid on the saucepan and allow everything to sweat a little, don't forget to stir so it doesn't stick. Let it cook for about 5 minutes
  • Boil the kettle and measure out 1 litre of boiling water. Add the yeast extract and tomato puree and stir until more or less dissolved
  • Add the potatoes to the saucepan, keep stirring so that they don't stick, and then add the yeast extract stock. Add the red wine (you could omit this if you'd rather), stir, partially cover and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes. Note, the stock should be at least level with the potatoes, if it's not, add some more water
  • After 15 minutes the potatoes should be almost tender. Add the green beans and increase the heat a little to make it bubble. Leave the green beans to cook for about 5 minutes
  • How is your stock doing? Is the stew looking a tad dry? If so, add the other 500ml of water, or a little more wine
  • When the beans have had 5 minutes add the lentils. Give it all a good stir and let it bubble for about 5 minutes more
  • Stir in the Dijon mustard. Now taste it and see what you may need to add a little more seasoning; it will depend on your palate
  • Ladle this out into bowls and let the steam warm your face.
  • If you wish, sprinkle with crushed red chillis (or a finely chopped green one); they'll help speed up your digestion too ;-)
  • If you can eat wheat, this is good with naughty white baguette or virtuous seedy brown loaf
  • If you can't eat wheat or gluten, why not make some bread rolls to go with this?!
  • Enjoy your meal, and please, eat until you're gently full, not stuffed to the gills
© Pig in the Kitchen, Jan 2008

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Saturday, 12 January 2008

Gluten Free Bread Rolls (egg free, dairy free, gluten free)

I wonder if Archimedes had any inkling – on the day he nailed the theory of displacement – that this particular day was going to be a biggie? Having spent weeks – perhaps months – stressing over how he could perform nondestructive testing on King Hiero’s crown, did he wake up one morning with a premonition that today his anguish would end? Or did he spend another fruitless day mulling and pondering, trying out the odd hypotheses here and there, only to call it a day at sundown? He would have packed up his laptop with that familiar frustrated feeling; desperate to see what a Google search would throw up on the matter, but determined to crack it himself with no outside help.

"I’m done in" he announced to his wife as he trudged into their kitchen which was bathed in the glow of the setting sun. Enticing aromas of citrus fruit, olives and freshly baked bread reached out to massage his tired shoulders.

‘Oh love, no joy again?’ She cocked her head on one side, sympathy and concern written lovingly over her face. He shook his head miserably and fought back the tears that welled up.

‘Listen honey, I’ve run you a nice cool bath. You go on up and I’ll bring you a big glass of chilled Ouzo, how does that sound?"
As he stepped into the bath, there was a blinding flash of truth. He saw the water rise, he saw his body submerged... it was All. So. Beautifully. Simple.



Eu Bloody Reka!”
he yelled as he fled naked down the hill. His incredulous wife leant on the door jamb and watched his painfully white flesh disappear into the distance. Her eyes lit upon the bottle of Ouzo.
‘Ye Gods, what do they put in that stuff?’

I had a bit of an Archimedes moment last week. Like Archimedes, I’d been struggling for months with a thorny problem. Like Archimedes I had no sense that the day was going to be a biggie. Unlike Archimedes I didn't feel the urge to run naked down the street or imbibe Ouzo. Maybe it's a BC/AD thing.

You see, let’s be blunt; what’s a gluten-free blog without bread? You may not see the yawning, recriminatory abyss on my blog, but I do. I see it in my dreams, and I see it in yet another failed bread attempt that I hurl disgustedly into the bin.

Last Thursday, a pack of gluten-free bread mix caught my eye. I thought I might give it a whirl. As I did what it said on the packet, I had to forcibly restrain myself from tweaking the recipe. It did not seem possible to me that the mix I was making would result in edible bread. I was right; the birds were treated to another helping of ‘bread’ that was something between industrial putty and cheap playdough.

But that particular failure got my Archimedes screw working. I peered closely at the packet ingredients. I took two, ditched the rest and added some of my own. I had a first attempt. Not brilliant.
Another attempt. Hmmm, better.
One more go before the school run; oooo, could that be it?

When I’m not sure about my food, I do the most logical thing; I inflict it upon unsuspecting friends. I mentally made my shortlist on the way to school, and cornered them in the playground. They made encouraging noises.
It didn’t pass the Chantal test though;
‘Well, it needs to be springier, it needs to be more risen, and why did you put margarine on it? I hate margarine’.

I woke up the next day pondering the mathematical conundrums of proving time, elasticity, optimal performance values of yeast; that sort of thing.

It happened at about 4pm. With white knuckles I gently opened the oven door. What I saw filled my heart with joy and my brain with angst; it was late in the day, there may not be enough light left to get a good photo!

Oh but it was Eureka all the way. They were springy, more risen, soft, fluffy…they were bread! And they were so up for the photo shoot. The shot was in the bag before these babies were even cold.

Eu Bloody Reka!

Archimedes' Gluten Free Bread Rolls

Ok, I'm going to stop waxing lyrical about the rolls now. Suffice to say that they are very easy to make, and the preparation time is short. As with most gluten-free bread; they're really better on the day of making. However, you could probably get away with toasting them for breakfast the next morning.

150g cornflour

100g rice flour

1.5tsp dried quick acting yeast

0.5 tsp xanthan gum

1 tbsp sugar

0.5 tsp salt

50g dairy free spread

180-225ml tepid water

  • Heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius
  • Put the cornflour, rice flour, yeast, gum, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix with a small whisk
  • Add the dairy free spread, then add the water a little at a time. I've always found that about 225ml of water does the trick, but readers have said that they find this much makes the mix too sloppy. Add the water cautiously, start with 150ml, gradually increasing until you have a thick mix. It should look like a thick cake mix. I have no explanation for why mine seem to work with 225ml; it could be different types of rice flour? Who knows, just err on the side of caution with the water, but equally, your mix shouldn't be stiff and hard to beat, I do hope that's clear
  • Using a wooden spoon mix gently to combine. Then beat like mad until the dairy free spread is mixed in and you have a smooth, quite wet and sticky, dough. Beat round and round and scrape your spoon across the middle; the idea is to remove lumps and to activate the yeast. You may find you are beating for anything from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Any really stubborn lumps can be 'pinched' with your fingers to squidge them. Scrape down the dough from the sides of the bowl
  • Leave the mix in the bowl for 15 minutes in a warm place. The yeast will start to activate and the flours will absorb the water a little. The mix will become thicker, more robust, and it should only spread a little (more a 'relax' than a spread) when you spoon it onto the baking tray (see below)
  • Line a baking tray with baking parchment
  • Using a dessert spoon, put roll-sized dollops of dough onto the baking tray. Tip the mix off the spoon and use a clean finger to make the tail end of the mixture land on the top of the roll; you are trying to make them as upright as possible. If you find the first roll you put on spreads rather than holds its shape, return it to the bowl, and leave the dough for another 5-10 minutes until it is more manageable; your dough should be quite thick, a little resistant, and not runny.
  • Go for small rolls rather than massive baps. If you are having trouble getting them to a roll shape, wet your hands with water or rice milk and primp them just a little. Grease some cling wrap with dairy free spread and lay it over the top of the rolls. Leave them in a warm place - I put mine on top of a warm radiator or an airing cupboard might do it - for 10-15 minutes only. They will grow very slightly, but they won't double in size, nor do you want them to. Trust me; I'm an Archimedes pig
  • When the 10-15 minutes is up, put them into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they are well risen and golden brown on top
  • Remove from the oven, exclaim in wonder, and place them onto a cooling tray
  • Dance a little jig of happiness around the kitchen and clap your hands in delight if you wish
  • Eat until you feel like a fat pig in the kitchen. In saying that I do not mean in any way to encourage gluttony, eating disorders, obesity or Type 2 diabetes. Pig in the Kitchen cannot be liable for any awfulness that may occur from overeating
  • Eureka!

© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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Sunday, 6 January 2008

Dairy Free Trifle (egg free, dairy free, gluten free)

Six years ago, we spent our first New Year’s Eve in our first ever house. It was all very exciting because although we still felt like students, we were able to offer food and shelter to those poor folk looking for fun on a wintry New Year’s Eve; namely my good friends Sandra and Nat.

Oh how we giggled in excitement that we had the house all to ourselves and no-one could tell us when to go to bed! Oh how hilarious it was when the balloon I was smearing with chocolate burst, and the kitchen suddenly resembled a crime scene. Oh how alarmed we were that my husband was able to drink so much and then propel fireworks into the air from his home-made launch pad in the garden. It was quite a sobering moment as we watched him peer owlishly at the touch paper of enormous rockets and realised that our lives were in his hands. Noting our concern he assumed a reassuring paternal air and brandished a Super Woofer Mega Beirut Bang;

Relaxssh Girlssh’ he grinned, ‘I know exshackly what I’m doing’.

I still remember with fondness, the team nightshirts from that first New Year’s Eve. In the build up to our soirée I’d happened upon some truly dreadful winceyette nightshirts. Cheap as chips, I’d snapped up three so that Sandra, Nat and I could be attired as one. I’d not expected the girls to be so excited, nor for them to insist that we immediately put them on and wear them all evening. Little did I know that a tradition had been born.

Over the intervening years, Sean and Erin, Sandra (again), Kate and Matt have all received their share of nightwear. Kate and Matt in particular lucked out one year with lovely Cath Kidston PJs for her, and some rather fetching drawstring pinstripes for him. It had been a year of plenty.

This year we were entertaining family. I dithered over the pyjama tradition; can one really buy nightwear for one’s in-laws, brother-in-law and brother-in-law’s girlfriend? I decided that one probably could, and before we could start our meal, we first had to open our pyjamas and put them on. At some point in the evening, the delightful Deborah decided to fashion a headdress for herself from the pyjama bottoms. Carole and I were not to be outdone and we all cavorted for the camera in our various guises. We were a motley mix of Nun, Al Qaeda devotee (complete with log from the fire as surface to air missile launcher), and turban-wearing woman from the East.

After the meal, the evening continued pleasantly outside around a bonfire. The guitar slurred drunkenly as my husband and his brother vied with each other to remember the riffs to rock anthems from the 60’s through the 90’s. I’m sure I saw the ghostly, anguished face of Jimi Hendrix in the wreaths of smoke from the fire. And the Gallagher brothers should definitely have been wincing.

The chimes of Big Ben were sadly lacking, but we belted out a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne at midnight, then pleased our Gallic neighbours with a raucous rendition of God Save the Queen at 1am. That was Carole’s idea; she wanted to be in step with the UK and celebrate the real entrance of the New Year. Apparently the real New Year starts at 00:00GMT regardless of your creed, colour or location in the world. When our house is firebombed by irate locals, I shall send the bill to her.

And as a fine climax to our evening, I served up a New Year Trifle. I’ve never made one before, but as Carole always does, it seemed fitting that I should return the compliment.
Perhaps another New Year’s tradition has been born?

Pyjamas and Trifle; it’s a winning combination.

New Year Trifle

Trifle is a bit of a tricky one to make dairy-free. It's even trickier to make it egg free, dairy free and gluten free. The one I made (and the one pictured) was everything-free from the base to the top of the custard...and then was topped with oat cream which most coeliacs would not be able to tolerate. However, I have a cunning plan of alternatives. To make this everything free, you could top it with coconut cream. If you need only be gluten free, you can top it with dairy cream. If you need only to be dairy free, you can top it with oat cream. Phew, I hope that's clear...and acceptable.

Trifle sponges (egg free, dairy free, gluten free):

4 heaped tsps Orgran 'no egg' egg replacer mixed with 8 tbsp orange juice

1 heaped tbsp ground linseeds (put whole linseeds in your blender and blitz)

130g sugar

2 tbsps vegetable oil

1 tsp mixed spice

Trifle Sponges (egg free, dairy free with wheat flour):

4 heaped tsps Orgran 'no egg' egg replacer mixed with 8 tbsp orange juice

1 heaped tbsp ground linseeds (put whole linseeds in your blender and blitz)

1.5 tsp gluten free baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

110g sugar

2 tbsp vegetable oil

110g wheat flour

Trifle Sponges (gluten free with eggs)

4 eggs

2 tbsps vegetable oil

130g sugar

1 tsp mixed spice

  • For egg free versions: put the 'no egg' and the ground linseeds into a bowl and whisk gently to remove any lumps. Set aside
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/Gas 4
  • Grease and line a 28x18cm rectangular tin with baking parchment
  • Put the 'no egg' and linseed mix - or eggs if using - into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and oil. Either use a hand whisk or an electric whisk to whisk the 'egg' and sugar together until it thickens slightly. If you are using real eggs, you will need to whisk until the mixture has doubled in volume (or is at least very fluffy and puffy)
  • Add the mixed spice, baking powder and wheat flour if using. For gluten free: add the rice and potato flour, xanthan gum, mixed spice and baking powder. Mix gently with a metal spoon until all the ingredients are mixed together
  • Pour the mixture into the middle of the tin. Then using the back of the metal spoon, gently ease the mixture to the edges of the tray ensuring that you have an even spread of mix over the tin
  • Bake for approximately 10 minutes until it has risen, is golden brown and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven
  • Turn the sponge onto a cooling rack and allow to cool. When cold, cut into sponge finger shapes (or squares) or whatever shape will best fit your trifle bowl
  • Place in the base of your trifle bowl

For the base:

2-4 tbsps of sherry / port or whatever you wish

Approx 200g of Fresh, frozen or jarred fruit - enough to cover the sponges, (I used a mix of cherries from a jar, blackcurrants from a jar and fresh blackberries)

1 sachet of vegetarian jelly crystals

For the custard:

350ml rice milk

200ml coconut milk (or 500 ml of dairy milk if you can tolerate it)

2 tbsps Bird's Custard Powder (or other Gluten free custard powder)

2 tbsps sugar

For the topping:

250ml Dairy whipping cream, oat cream, or coconut cream

Approx 50g dark chocolate

  • With your trifle sponges neatly positioned in the base of the trifle bowl, spoon over the sherry/port/etc. You could use orange juice if you wanted to avoid alcohol
  • Arrange your fruit of choice over the sponges
  • Make up the sachet of jelly crystals with boiling water as per the packet instructions (make up the liquid using some juice from your jarred fruit if you wish). Leave it to cool until it is thickening slightly, but is not setting. Pour the jelly over the sponges and fruit. Make sure you leave enough space at the top of your trifle bowl for the custard layer and cream layer; you might not need to use all the jelly
  • Leave the jelly to set for a few hours
  • Meanwhile, using the mix of rice milk and coconut milk, make up the custard as per the instructions on the packet. When it is thick, and still hot, completely cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin forming. You'll need to press the cling film/plastic wrap/cling wrap down onto the top of the custard, not just cover the top of your jug. Leave the custard until it is almost cold
  • When ready to use the custard, remove the cling film from the custard and use a small wire whisk to whisk out any lumps that have escaped your cling film. Pour the custard over the surface of the set jelly, smooth with the back of a spoon. Remember to leave enough space at the top for your cream layer; you might not need to use all the custard
  • Leave the custard to go completely cold
  • When ready for the final push, whisk your cream of choice to remove any lumps. For dairy cream you will need to whisk until it thickens enough to spread. Spread your cream layer over the custard layer and grate some dark chocolate over the top. Or top with cherries, or some gluten free, dairy free Carnival Sprinkelz available from Dietary Needs Direct
  • The best way to eat this trifle is to bury your head in it and start sucking. Remember to suck not inhale, you don't want to choke now do you? The sucking method is only recommended for adults, and Pig in the Kitchen can accept no resposibility for death, disablement or other awful things that may result from this practice
  • And a Happy New Year to you all!

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