Thursday, 17 March 2011

Lemon Welsh Cakes (gluten free and/or vegan)

Some of my best ideas come to me when I first wake up.  Admittedly the idea of hand-making all my Christmas decorations one year was not my finest, but other ones have been pretty cool.

It’s why I have Sempervivums growing out of a (disused) toilet in the garden, how my landing got painted bright yellow (hmm) and how my daughter ended up with a new wardrobe rather unexpectedly last Sunday.  I woke up at 6am, decided she needed one and by 1pm it was home and installed.  Ta-daa!  (manic? me?)

Often, the ideas are about baking.  I wake up and see enormous cherry sponges just gagging to be made, or I fantasise about making Pigs in Blankets without gluten, eggs, milk, nuts, meat, mustard, gelatine, etc, etc.  Yeah, some of those ideas are a bit off the wall.

Last Sunday, along with the wardrobe brainwave came the Welsh Cakes brainwave. 

I recently got Mr Amazon to send my cool friend Jo (who designed my Pig logo) the Great British Book of Baking and it rankled slightly.  If cool friend Jo can have one, why can’t I?  Mr Amazon was very happy to oblige.  Although the book is fab, it is full of recipes I can’t bake for my allergic family. 

Sigh, life’s a bitch, etc.  But the Welsh Cake recipe got me thinking...

So, between waking up and buying the wardrobe I managed to make 2 batches of egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free Welsh Cakes for my kiddies and I was definitely the best Mum in Paris for a whole ten minutes.
It was one of my finer morning ideas and it gives me great pleasure to bequeath it to you dear, loyal blog readers.  

Lemon Welsh Cakes (makes about 12, hopefully more)
These are a doddle to make (that means easy to make).  The kids kept scampering back into the kitchen for more while I basked in glory.  Trust me, it doesn't happen often.  The acidity of the lemon is crucial; its counterbalances the sweetness of the sugar, margarine AND jam I loaded onto mine.  You are supposed to only have them with sugar sprinkled on top, but jam, maple syrup, golden syrup, honey, chocolate spread, it's all good in my book.  You will need a crepe pan for this recipe and a 7cm round cutter.

All versions:

125g dairy free margarine (or butter)
80g sugar (+ extra for sprinkling)
35g currants/sultanas
1 lemon
Approximately 6 tbsps Rice milk / other milk 

Egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free
1 pinch of xanthan gum
1 pinch of salt
Egg replacing mix:
1 tbsps ground chia seeds (grind the chia seeds in a blender)
1 tbsp ground linseeds / flaxseeds
1 tbsp apple sauce/puree
3tbsps rice milk

Gluten free with eggs
Use the Doves Farm GF flour, xanthan gum and salt as above, but replace the egg replacing mix with 1 egg yolk

Egg-free with wheat flour
Use the egg replacing mix as shown above and use 225g of self-raising flour (you could probably get away with plain flour in an emergency)

  • If using the egg replacing mix, place the ground chia seeds, linseeds/flaxseeds, apple sauce and 3 tbsps rice milk into a small bowl.  Stir to combine and set aside
  • Place the flour, salt and xanthan gum (if using) into a mixing bowl.  Add the zest of the lemon and the dairy free margarine/butter cut up into cubes.  Rub the fat into the flour with your fingertips until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs
  • Add the sugar and sultanas and stir
  • Make a well in the centre and add either the egg replacing mix or the egg yolk and mix to combine.  Squeeze some juice from your lemon into the mix and stir/work it until you have a soft, fairly wet dough
  • Dollop your mixture onto a GF floured work surface then, because it is too wet to roll, sprinkle some flour over the top.  Turn the dough over and over on the floured surface until more flour is incorporated - add more sprinkles of flour as necessary - and you have a soft dough that you can roll out.  It sounds a faff doing it this way, but I think it makes for a softer cake at the end of it
  • Gently roll out the dough to 1cm thick, you can almost pat it out to this thickness, the dough feels lovely doesn't it?
  • Using the cutter, stamp out rounds and set them to one side until all the dough is used up
  • Lightly grease your crepe pan by putting a teaspoon of oil onto the surface and then wiping it round with some kitchen paper, the welsh cakes shouldn't be 'fried' in the oil, just browned by the heat
  • Heat the pan over a low to medium heat and add your welsh cakes - in batches of 3 or 4 depending on pan size
  • Cook them on one side until golden brown, then carefully turn them over to cook/brown the other side, lower the heat if they are browning too quickly and not cooked in the middle
  • Place them onto a plate lined with kitchen paper and sprinkle with sugar.  Repeat until they are all cooked
  • Now smear them with margarine and jam, hunker down in the kitchen and eat the whole lot.  Or you could share them with your kids/significant other/dog/cat or budgie
  • Yum  
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Sunday, 13 March 2011

Lemon Welsh Cakes (gluten free and/or vegan)

Coming soon... Lemon Welsh Cakes.

'Soon' being a relative term...but my ditzy, disorganised blogging schedule adds to my charm, right?  You wouldn't really want me to be an up-to-the-minute, 'a new recipe every Friday' kind of a person would you?

À bientôt mes vous aime.

Pig x

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Boob Cakes aka Fancy Fruit Cakes (Gluten free and/or vegan)

It’s that time of year again when a prescription from my doctor lies around for weeks.  Every time I look at it I suppress the mental note that says ‘You really need to get this done.’

It’s time for my annual mammogram. 

Of course you’re thinking that I’m far too young to need a mammogram and you are right.  But my Mum - who I miss so much - shuffled off her mortal, cancer-ridden coil aged 42 and that means that the mammogram people have been all over me for years. 

Which sounds way more fun than it is. 

But this year I don’t mind (much) about my mammogram.  As my husband says ‘It’s all upside; either you have cancer and they’ve caught it early or you don’t have cancer and that’s good, right?’ 

Not sure he’d be so cavalier if it were his testicles about to be squished...

The other reason I don’t mind is that last year I interviewed Jane Hallenga, Kristin Hallenga’s mum and I realised that I'm fortunate that doctors take my concerns about breast cancer seriously.

Aged 23 Kristin Hallenga was told she had breast cancer.  Stage 4 breast cancer, there is no stage 5.  And this was after she’d been to two different doctors with a lump in her breast, which was dismissed as ‘hormonal.’

Kris is no ordinary cancer patient.  She went through the requisite treatment but also launched a charity to promote breast cancer awareness in young women.  With the help of her twin sister Maren and her mum, Jane, came to life. 

Here’s a snippet to give you a feel (geddit?) of how they’re different to other cancer charities:

 ‘At CoppaFeel if we're not bakin' for boobies or bikin' for baps, we're joggin' for jugs or ramblin' for racks. And when we're not doing that, we're just simply hitting the streets and spreading the word. Where there are young people, you're guaranteed to find the CoppaFeel team.’

Kris and her family are an inspiration and so I’ll humbly endure my mammogram this year, thinking of them.  (Not thinking of them as they squish my boobs, that would be weird, but generally thinking of them around the time of the procedure...) 

And hey, if I DO have breast cancer, do you think I can join Kris’ cool club? 

My husband is right, it’s all upside.

You can read my interview with Jane on here: 

But if you do nothing else today, please watch this clip of Kris receiving an award.  Warning: it will probably reduce you to tears, but the word needs to be spread...

Boobie Cake aka ‘Fancy Fruit Cake’

Of course you don’t have to make these cakes in the shape of mammary glands, but it’s quite fun.  My darling second daughter stared at the array of decorated cakes I made (see above) and declared innocently that she liked the ones shaped like ‘a baby’s bottle’ best.  I need to improve my cake decorating skills...

To make mini cakes you’ll need a fancy cake tin that is square but has an insert that divides the large square tin into mini square cakes.  I can't find one online to show you :-(  OR you could use ramekins to make round cakes.  But you’ll need lots of ramekins.  You could also make one whopper cake in a round tin.  Up to you.
And of course you don’t have to ice this cake, you can leave it naked and it will still taste yummy.  It will also have about a third of the sugar content...

All versions:
250g raisins
250g sultanas
85g cranberries
6 tbsps orange juice
1 tsp GF baking powder
1½ tsp mixed spice
200g dark muscovado sugar

Gluten free, Egg free, Dairy free version
Use the ingredient list for 'All versions' plus:
75g potato flour/ corn starch (cornflour)
125g rice flour  (or you could use 200g of Doves Farm GF plain flour or other GF mix)
¾ tsp xanthan gum (if using Doves Farm or other pre-mix, possibly reduce this to ½ tsp, but it won’t make much difference)
200g dairy free margarine

Egg replacing mix: 
10 tbsps rice milk
¼ tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsps ground linseeds / flaxseeds
2 tbsps olive oil/other oil
90ml rice milk / other milk

Gluten free with eggs
As for GF/EF/DF version but use 3 large eggs in place of the ‘Egg replacing mix’
Use butter in place of dairy free margarine

With wheat flour
Omit the gluten free flours, use 200g plain wheat flour instead

For any other version I haven’t thought of, please email me!

For the icing:
500g – 1kg white fondant, roll-out icing (check it is GF, mine was).  The amount you need depends on how fancy you’re making your cake
250-500g Coloured roll-out icing of your choice
Smooth apricot jam
Confectioners glue for sticking (check it doesn't contain egg white), or jam will do (see later)

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170˚ celsius
  • Put the raisins, sultanas and cranberries in a large saucepan and add the orange juice.  Gently heat until you hear sizzling, stirring all the time.  Let is sizzle for about 30 seconds, keep stirring, then remove from the heat and set aside
  • Put the dairy free margarine/butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat until combined.
  • Add the egg replacing mix or the real eggs and beat again
  • Add the flours (GF or wheat), baking powder and mixed spice and mix to combine.  Add the rice milk/other milk gradually, stirring continuously.  You might find you don’t need it all, you might find you need double; this GF cooking is based so much on intuition, no?
  • When you have a fairly loose mixture – the mix should slip gently off your wooden spoon, not stick on it – add the raisin/sultana/cranberry mix and stir again.  Is it looking lovely? It should be. 
  • Divide your mixture into your clever mini square tin, or scrape it all into one large tin, or divide it between a million ramekins
  • Place in the oven and for small cakes, bake for about 20-25 minutes.  A larger cake will need longer – about 40 minutes.  If the surface of your cake starts to look too brown but the inside is squidgy, cover the cake with baking foil and slightly reduce the oven heat
  • Remove the cake when it is risen, dark brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean-ish.  You’ll get bits of raisin stuck to it, but you don’t want globs of cake mix
  • Leave to cool
  • If you are icing the cake/s, warm about 2 tbsps of apricot jam in a saucepan (or evil microwave, shhh!) and brush it over the outside of the cake/s
  • Roll out the fondant icing to a thickness of 3-4mm and gently lay it over the cake/s.  Squidge and primp and squeeze until it adheres smoothly to the cake and cut off any excess
  • Decorate with shapes, nipples, whatever you wish.  You can use confectioners glue to stick on shapes, or jam will more or less do the same job
  • Now, you are checking your breasts regularly every month aren’t you?  And if you have been sent an appointment for a mammogram, GO TO IT.  Early detection is crucial
  • Wish me luck with my mammogram!

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