Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Cookies, gluten free and vegan

gluten free recipes
Yikes! This pic was taken when I knew NOTHING about photography. Observe the harsh sunlight. Yuk. 
I am not ashamed to say that Halloween annoys me. 

Loyal readers know that I've blathered on about it before. And even though I used to enjoy Trick or Treating, I'm over that now.

Yes, I should be carving pumpkins and helping my children with outfits, but I'm not. And they are doing fine without my help, so that's another victory for benign neglect.

What annoys me most is that Halloween is interfering with mine and my husband's latest mission; to watch our way through Season 4 of Engrenages ('Spirals' to you :-)  It has just been delivered by Monsieur le and we're on episode 7. 

Each perfect 45 minute chunk features blood, violence, brilliant plot and, occasionally, that semi-pornographic sex that the French do so well. And beautiful, beautiful language delivered caustically by Audrey Fleurot, sexily by Gregory Fitoussi (fwooor!) and brusquely by Caroline Proust.  

I am completely obsessed by Engrenages at the moment particularly because [redacted] has just tried to top herself in the bath and I'm desperate to find out what happens next!

But instead of finding out her fate, I have to traipse the streets pretending to enjoy Halloween.

I reckon the kids can visit three houses - tops - and then it's straight home to bed (them) and the remote control (me).

Not sure they are going to go for that.

Anyway, if you're a much nicer mother than me, why not bake cookies for your children? (You can get the Halloween Biscuit Cakes recipe here.)

And you have my permission to feel smug and yummy and all the rest of it.

Me? I just want to perve over French actors and snuggle up on the sofa. 

Halloween, I have one word for you: Merde!

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Monday, 22 October 2012

Chocolate & Zucchini Cake, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, vegan

gluten free chocolate cake
I'm loving the fancy cupcake cases. They are tres chic, no?
I  grew up expecting to work and earn money. Not for me the lounging around in a gym while someone else pays the rent, I always wanted to pay my way.

So, arriving in my mid-thirties, I did not expect to find myself a 'stay-at-home-mum' in Paris, relying on my husband with no immediate prospects of employment.

But that is how the cookie broke up and let's face it, not exactly a hard life was it?

I wanted to earn money, so I started a blog. Hmm...
And yet, and yet, the voice from my childhood was whispering "You've got a degree, you used to earn money, what are you playing at?" It was partly because of that voice that my blog was born.

But mainly because of Sandra.

"You should start a blog!" she enthused in 2007 after I'd fed her another of my GF, dairy free, egg free creations. "That really pretty woman has done it and she's called it Chocolate and Zucchini. AND she has a book deal!"

We beamed at each other as we realised this was the solution to all my money - and mum-to-four-kids-in-Paris - problems.

So I started a blog. And oh the exhilaration when I got my first comment! It was on my houmus recipe and read:
Timbo said: One lone male arrived on this site by chance and infatuated with all the lovely recipes. Tomorrow morning I have the Humus ingredients and raring to go although will substitute the olive oil with the new love of my life Farrington's Mellow Yellow Rapeseed oil (Waitrose) has the most devine taste and will make this Humos ever so special. I will report back 'Tally Ho' 

I fell instantly in love with Timbo, not only because of the you-got-here-first thing, but also because he sounded gloriously reconstructed (although not so good with the grammar). 

Sandra pronounced him to be, "definitely gay".  
gluten free chocolate cake
Gluten free flour LOVES it when you put veg in the cake. Don't ask me why...

Book deal, schmook deal
Look I won't bore you with the journey of my blog, but the book deal never came to pass. Everyone says lovely things about it, but the professionals who part with their printing and binding cash...don't.

One publishing guru said that it 'fell between two stools'. I think she meant the stools you sit on and the wider point was that it's a rambling, kind of not really about baking blog.

My gluten free, vegan blog. A delicious rambling pleasure
Which is absoLUTELY the way I like it! My blog is my delicious, rambling pleasure that I happen to share with you my lovely readers. And as for the making money thing, well I've found another way to do that :-)

So in  homage to the gorgeous Clotilde Dusoulier, but more to my brilliant, brilliant friend Sandra, here is my recipe for Chocolate and Zucchini cake.

Chocolate and Zucchini cake

Of course you're looking at pix of cupcakes and saying, err, that's not a cake. But you can make this as a cake, just use two 20cm cake tins. Ooo, or what about a loaf? A loaf might be good, use a medium sized loaf tin.

275g grated courgette (Zucchini)
200-210g honey
105 ml vegetable oil
100g cocoa powder
210g Doves Farm self-raising flour (or 210g of self-raising wheat flour)
½ tsp xanthan gum
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
4-10 tbsps rice milk
2 eggs or:
3 tbsps ground linseeds (or 1 tbsp ground chia seeds)
¼ tsp xanthan gum
Enough rice milk to make a smooth paste

For the icing (frosting):

  • Grease and line two 20cm cake tins, or put cupcake cases into a muffin tin
  • Set oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Grate the courgette (zucchini) and set aside
  •  If you are making this egg free, mix the linseeds (or chia seeds) with the xanthan gum and the rice milk
  • Put the honey, vegetable oil and egg replacer (or eggs) into a large mixing bowl and beat together
  • Add the bicarbonate of soda, half the flour and half the cocoa powder and mix a little
  • Add the courgette and mix again
  • Add the remaining flour and cocoa powder and mix
  • You will probably need to add rice milk at this point to loosen up the mix and to get a soft, dropping consistency. Use your judgement; you might need to add more or less than I've stated
  • Bake in the oven for between 20 and 45 minutes. When cooked your cake/cupcakes/loaf should have risen nicely and an inserted skewer should come out clean
  •   Leave to cool then pipe with swirly icing and pretty sprinkles
  •   Now get back to your day job and earn some money!

Well you didn't expect  me to save you any, did you?

 Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved