Thursday, 31 October 2013

Egg Free Pumpkin Cupcakes

egg free baking
Even spiders can't resist my baking
Ah the annual curse of Halloween is upon us. As I've said before, I'm not a fan.

And yet, this year something is different.

It might have something to do with the village rules about Halloween. The protocol is to leave a pumpkin at your door if you welcome Trick or Treaters (T&T-ers) and, for some reason, I like the idea. It seems quaint and hints at a community spirit. (After five years in a transient expat community, I'm still getting to grips with 'village life' and 'community spirit'.)

Also, rumour has it that apparently someone in the village leaves a polite notice saying that T&T-ers are not welcome because T&T-ing (keep up) is an ungodly practice. People are great, aren't they?!

So this year, I've not groaned quite as much, and I've even come up with a plan to avoid me dealing with annoying brats poorly disguised as mini ghouls whining at the door for sweets that they've done nothing to earn. (Ooops, for a minute there I slipped back into my old ways of hating T&T-ers.)

I've suggested to my older girls that they invite their mates for a spooky night in, while I take my younger kids for a round of T&T-ness in the village. I've bought decorations, trashy ice cream and a ton of glucose-fructose syrup masquerading as sweets. 

Of course the real plan is that my girls deal with the absolute torture of having to open the door to annoying sprogs and watch as their thieving, grasping hands dive into a bowl of sweets trying to get as many as they can without looking like the greedy pigs they are. (I'm not really cured of hating Halloween I don't think...)

So everyone is happy.

I'm happy to wander around the village trying to make friends and watching my utterly cute neighbour's son get completely overexcited (we love you Freddie!) and the girls are happy at the idea of a grown up night in.

And by the time the girls realise they've drawn the short straw...well it won't matter then.

And anyway, I've baked them a ton of pumpkin cupcakes, so they should be grateful.

Wow. I sound like an old curmudgeon, don't I?

And a happy Halloween to you all.

eggless cake recipes
These are too good for pesky Trick or Treaters. Keep them hidden

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes

I think one year I went through the tedium of scraping out a pumpkin's innards, boiling up the innards and making pumpkin purée 'fait maison'. And then I discovered Libby's pumpkin purée in a can. Americans, I bow at your superior pumpkin feet.
You can also make these as bigger cupcakes, the mix approximately 24 mini cakes and 12/14 larger cakes.


The 'fully free from' version (free from: eggs, dairy, gluten, wheat, soya, nuts)

110g dairy free margarine
120g sugar (or coconut palm sugar)
150g Libby's puréed pumpkin
1½ tsp GF baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1-2 tbsp coconut milk

Egg replacer:
1 heaped tbsp ground golden linseeds
6-8 tbsps coconut milk to mix  
¼ bicarbonate of soda, (added just before baking)

Lemon glacé icing:
150g icing sugar
Lemon juice to mix
Gluten free (dairy free) with eggs

 110g butter or margarine
120g sugar (or coconut palm sugar)
150g Libby's puréed pumpkin
1½ tsp GF baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1-2 tbsp milk (non dairy milk)

1 egg

 Lemon glacé icing:
150g icing sugar
Lemon juice to mix

Egg free with wheat flour

110g butter or margarine
120g sugar (or coconut palm sugar)
150g Libby's puréed pumpkin
110g plain flour 
1½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1-2 tbsp milk (non dairy milk)

Egg replacer:
1 heaped tbsp ground golden linseeds
6-8 tbsps milk/non dairy milk to mix  
¼ bicarbonate of soda, (added just before baking)

Lemon glacé icing:
150g icing sugar
Lemon juice to mix

Dairy free with wheat flour


110g dairy free margarine
120g sugar (or coconut palm sugar)
150g Libby's puréed pumpkin
110g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1-2 tbsp coconut/soya milk 

1 egg

Lemon glacé icing:
150g icing sugar
Lemon juice to mix





























Method:

Line a mini muffin tin with cake cases. When ready, heat oven to 80°C.

If using egg replacer, place all the ingredients into a small bowl - apart from the bicarbonate of soda - and use a mini whisk to combine and remove lumps. Set aside (you may need to add a little more coconut milk before baking).

Place the dairy free margarine/butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat together. If using egg replacer, add the bicarbonate of soda to the mix and whisk. You may need to add more coconut milk; you're aiming for a consistency that mimics beaten egg. Add the egg replacer or one egg to the mixing bowl and beat to combine.

Add the puréed pumpkin and beat, don't worry if it looks curdled. Add the flour, spices and baking powder and mix until combined. Add 1-2 tbsps of milk/non dairy milk and divide the mix between  the cupcake cases, filling them to about half full (that's about a teaspoon of mix if using mini cases). The surface of the cakes will seem a bit uneven as the mix is quite thick, so using the back of a teeny teaspoon smooth the surfaces. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until risen and springy. Lean in and inhale, smells amazing, right?

Leave cakes to cool and get started on the icing. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, then gradually add the lemon juice until you have a thick glacé icing. When the cakes are completely cool, dollop the icing generously over and adorn with edible Halloweeny trinkets.

Beware the Trick or Treaters. Try not to show them that you hate them...

egg free pumpkin cake
Happy Halloween!

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Monday, 21 October 2013

Ginger biscuits - gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free



gluten free ginger biscuits
What these need is a good cuppa Yorkshire Tea
Of the 24 years since I turned 18 (yes, go on, work out my age!), I've spent 11 years living abroad. Five months in South Africa here, six months in Barcelona there, three years in China, and the rest of the time spent quaffing wine, shrugging elaborately and using my horn to drive in various parts of France.

Living outside the UK has given me plenty of time to consider what it means to be quintessentially British. And after much deliberation, I think I've narrowed it down to one element.

Biscuits.

I'm convinced that you can tell a true Brit, regardless of creed, colour or political persuasion, by their ability to participate in a conversation that involves mention of Custard Creams, Jammy Dodgers and the universally loathed Bourbon biscuit.

(What, you don't loathe Bourbons? Don't tell me you like Viscount biscuits? Oh dear...)

Why is it that biscuits unite us as a nation? I suspect it stems from an unhealthy (puerile?) relationship with food.

Yes, we can put Jamie Oliver on the telly and pretend we're down with focaccia, and we can nod knowledgeably about the relative merits of snail porridge, but actually? We'd probably be just as happy having some Hob Nobs in the evening as an exquisitely seasoned tender rack of lamb.

Why do you think that is?

Is it because we love a good brew and if you're having a brew then you definitely need a biscuit?

Is it because Masterchef has tired us out with all the complicated reductions and talk of goose liver fricassée of balsamic jus à l'orange?

Or is it because the Great British Bake Off creations just make too much washing up?

I don't have the answers and I don't really care. I just love our national obsession with biscuits.

I love that you can have an earnest interaction with any Brit in the biscuit aisle about whether Nice biscuits should exist or whether Garibaldis count as one of your five a day. (I also love the fact that we have a 'biscuit aisle' and that we carry out polls of favourite biscuits.)

I'll go further and say that biscuits are a unifying force for the nation that created Malted Milks.

I propose that we dispense with parliamentary debate as a way to implement reforms. I vote that we bring controversial matters such as burqa-wearing, UKIP and the spare bedroom tax to the (biscuit) table. Let's gather all the dissenters together, get the kettle on and crack open a packet of Party Rings.

I reckon we'll have the fissures in our national identity plastered over in the time it takes for someone to say

'Ooo, have you got any Chocolate Digestives?'

And we'll feel proud to be biscuit-loving and British.

Ginger biscuits 

So why all the talk of biscuits? Well I couldn't believe it when I made these and they tasted JUST like the Ginger Nuts you get in the biscuit aisle! There was gingeryness, crunch and all round yumptiousness. I was particularly proud of the crunch. Finally, I've got GF biscuits to crunch!

The 'fully free from' version
(free from: eggs, dairy, gluten, wheat, soya, nuts)

350g Doves Farm plain GF flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g fresh ginger, peeled & grated (freeze it before you grate)
200g light brown soft sugar
125g dairy free margarine
85g golden syrup

Egg replacer:
1 tbsp ground golden linseeds
2-4 tbsp apple juice to mix
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda added at last minute

Gluten free (dairy free) with eggs

350g Doves Farm plain GF flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g fresh ginger, peeled & grated (freeze it before you grate)
200g light brown soft sugar
125g butter/dairy free margarine
85g golden syrup

1 egg
Egg free with wheat flour

350 g plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g fresh ginger, peeled & grated (freeze it before you grate)
200g light brown soft sugar
125g butter/margarine
85g golden syrup

Egg replacer:
1 tbsp ground golden linseeds
2-4 tbsp apple juice to mix
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda added at last minute

Dairy free with wheat flour


350 g plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g fresh ginger, peeled & grated (freeze it before you grate)
200g light brown soft sugar
125g dairy free margarine
85g golden syrup

1 egg
























Method:
Preheat oven 180° Celsius when you're ready to bake.

If using an egg free version, whisk the linseeds and egg replacer with the apple juice and set aside. (The mixture may thicken when you set it aside, add more apple juice if required, you're aiming for a consistency that's similar to beaten eggs.) Keep the ½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda ready; you'll add it just before you add the egg replacing mix to the rest of the ingredients.

For all versions, line two baking trays with baking parchment, then melt the butter/dairy free margarine in a saucepan and set aside to cool. Put the flour (GF or wheat), ground ginger, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Grate the fresh ginger and beat the egg (if using).  

When the golden syrup and margarine/butter is cool (it can almost be completely cold) add the egg replacing mix (remember to add the bicarbonate of soda!) or egg and whisk to combine. Pour the liquid into the mixing bowl and stir to combine and form a dough. If you are making a gluten free version, you may find that the dough is too wet. Don't panic. Set the bowl aside for about 30 mins (in refrigerator if possible) and the gluten free flour will absorb the liquid. This only happened once when I was trialling this recipe, the other times were fine. Gluten free flour does like to mess with the mind...

Take small chunks of dough - the size of a walnut - and roll them into small balls. Flatten and place on the baking trays, leaving a gap as the gingernuts will spread and flatten as they bake. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

Place the baking trays into a preheated oven (180° Celsius) and bake for approximately 10-20 minutes. All ovens are different, so just keep looking! When the biscuits are golden and slightly risen, reduce the oven temperature to 140°C and continue baking for about 20 minutes more. This dries out the biscuits and when they are cooled, gives them the elusive crunch. You can also remove the biscuits after the first 10-20 mins, leave them to cool completely and then put them back into the oven at 140°C for 20 minutes to dry them out. That is the more labour-intensive option, but if you're trying to squeeze in baking between school runs and get interrupted...well it's always good to know you have options!

When the biscuits are completely cooled, remove from the baking trays and serve with a cup of tea.

Dunk, and feel proud to be British. 


© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Food photography and food allergies

gluten free baking
Here are my tools

I've been reading Helene Dujardin's book Plate to Pixel about food photography. 

One of the phrases that jumped off the page was:

 "The only wrong way to do food photography, is not to do food photography". 
(Or something along those lines.)

So, today, I've been 'doing food photography'. And these are the results.

Can you guess what I baked?? (Recipe coming soon.)

egg free baking
My father-in-law made this scoop. He's so clever

dairy free baking
I love love love Lyle's golden syrup tins. They make good pencil pots

food photography
Hmm, not sure I've mastered the whole shutter speed thing. Getting there...


vegan baking
Forget the lady of the lamp. Meet the lady of the grater.

baking for food allergies
She is beautiful
© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Growing out of an egg allergy

egg allergy in children
A table laden with anaphylaxis? Or dinner?
If you're old enough to remember Edwina Currie, then you know all about the propensity of eggs to bring about someone's downfall. But salmonella and Edwina aside, (although what about Edwina and John Major? Still can't get my head around that one) for the last eight years I've had other reasons to fear eggs; my daughter's egg allergy.

Growing out of an egg allergy
So pretty, is it really OK to eat them?
It was diagnosed when she was about six months old - she's now eight - so avoiding eggs became a way of life.

And then came the doctors with their subversive talk of desensitising. "Bake her a cake" they said, "and see what happens."

So one day, alone in rural Normandy with four kids, I did. Let's see, lip swelling, fine rash over the face, stomach cramps and a sudden urge to fall asleep.

Yeah, I'm not really loving this feed-the-egg-allergic-child-egg idea.

But then came Croissantgate and Freshpastagate. Hmm, weird.

And it all came to a head this September as the annual allergy appointment loomed. Due to a mix up in appointments, the senior dietician called me prior to the appointment and as we chatted, he told me to feed my daughter a bit of boiled egg. I didn't quite say WTF? down the phone to him, but nearly.

children and egg allergy
Are all eggs born equal? Or are quail eggs different...
But I'm a law-abiding gal, so the day before the appointment, we cracked open a warm, hard-boiled egg. "Mmm, yummy!" said my daughter and asked for more.

24 hours and one teaspoon of hard-boiled egg with no reaction later, we bounced into the skin prick testing room at Leicester Royal Infirmary, hoping the test would prove negative.

It did! My daughter and I gazed at each other in delight.

I could barely contain my joy. No, not because she's cured, but because FINALLY I could make a proper Vic Sponge! Hell, I might even be able to get my brownies to do that special waxy thing that I secretly think only Americans can do properly!

It was Very Good News. And also? Totally surreal.

anaphylaxis and eggs
Breakfast 
I've spent years making sure the egg spatula doesn't go near my daughter's plate, kept omelette well away from her personal space and should any raw egg splatter on the work surface? I was all over it with Mr Muscle (and regular readers will know that is totally not my style).

And yet suddenly, the egg world is open to us.

Lemon meringue pie? Why not?
French toast? Mais oui!
Soufflé? Forget it. Do you know how hard it is to make a soufflé?

And if you're reading this and your child still has their egg allergy, well I imagine a teeny part of you is sort of hating me. I know you feel like that because I've felt the same when other people have shared their thrilling news on Twitter or Facebook.

But fear not, I will not abandon you my egg allergic friends. I have spent too many years tutting in disgust at free from products that contain eggs. And I also understand the importance of consuming cake on a regular basis. For a life without cake, is a life less lived.

Or something like that.

Back soon!

Pig x
egg allergy
Lunch

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved