Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Have a merry (allergen free) Christmas!


Gluten free Christmas cake
Cake decorating courtesy of my fabulous eldest daughter #proud

Hope you have a wonderful festive season! Stay safe and happy and see you for some indulgent feasting in 2014 :-) 






© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas mincemeat cakes (gluten free, egg free, dairy free, vegan)



gluten free cake
Icing à la 5 year old
This time last year, I had a bit of a brainstorm when it came to decorating the tree. I insisted on trying to make it look 'chic'.

When the kids protested - kids have the worst taste in the world - I responded with a candour brought about by fatigue, and probably a glass of mulled wine.

'I can't bear another year with a tree that looks crap!' I may have said.

Daughter number two was furious.

'Well,  I can't bear you trying to make our tree look like it belongs in a hotel lobby!' she retorted.

I know. Pretty good comeback, right?

Yeah, but it didn't stop me sending her - and the rest of them - upstairs to bed. I then spent a pleasant hour tying red ribbons on the evergreen boughs with Bing Crosby crooning in the background.

This year though, I've seen the light. 

Not only did I let them have free rein for Halloween, I'm taking a similarly chilled approach to Christmas. 

This is the year that I let the kids vomit decorations onto the tree, although I am drawing the line at tinsel and an inflatable Santa in the garden.

Daughter number two is pleased with my rehabilitation.

'You see Mum?' she said the other day, 'You're doing really well, you're really relaxed this year!'

(She's right. Do you think it's because of the Evening Primrose Oil I'm taking? Astonishing stuff.)

I'm also taking a relaxed approach to cake decorating. I'm calling a fatwa on faux chic and 'lifestyle' photo shoots. This year it's all about slopping glacé icing onto cakes, nibbling on crisps and drinking wine.

It makes me more relaxed, the kids love it and I'll worry about my liver in the new year.

So here are my shabby chic bakes. It was totally therapeutic to not get stressed about making them look pretty. I commend this haphazard approach to you all. This could be one of the merriest Christmases EVER!

And, in my new role as laid back baker, I'm offering you a choice of decorating techniques.

First up, what I'm calling the 'no technique'. That's right, throw out the rules and eat naked cake. Coffee was made for naked cake.
egg free cake recipes
Naked as the day it was baked

Next, your icing runneth over. Drip on the icing - who cares if it runs off the edge - then drop on the silver balls. If you look really closely, you'll see that the silver coating from the balls has 'bled' onto the icing. That totally encapsulates the spirit of laid back Christmas, love it. 

Get your drizzle on. Well, if you can. I discovered that I'm not really down with the whole drizzling thing. I managed it for this cake, but the rest of the mini cupcakes were more...splodged. 


Festive baubles on mini cupcakes are a joy to behold. Observe the dollops of icing. Not intentional and not a problem.


If you're really pristine, this may be an icing/cake stacking step too far. But how's this for a sort of cake snowman effect? Double cake. Bonus.


And THIS is how casual Christmas should look:


It's a mishmash of well intentioned baking plans. And if they've gone a little awry? It matters not one jot.

Merry Chilled Out Christmas!!

Mincemeat cakes (makes approximately 16 cakes, or 1 loaf)

The easiest way to make these is with a mixer. If you don't have one, well it's nearly Christmas and you can totally justify rushing out to buy one. If you want to make this as a loaf, use a 22cm x 12cm loaf tin. You'll need to cover with tin foil halfway through the baking to ensure the centre cooks and the top doesn't burn. (Can I just say, I'm not a fan of loaves? They are such a faff to bake. But maybe you have superior loaf-baking skills? I wish you well.)


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

175g dairy free margarine
150g dark muscovado sugar
225g GF, nut free mincemeat (recipe here)
1 tbsp treacle or Golden Syrup

4 tsps Orgran 'no egg' egg replacer
1 tbsp ground linseeds
Coconut milk/apple juice to mix

225g Doves Farm gluten free plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½tsp baking powder
Coconut milk to mix

For the icing:
200g icing sugar
Water or lemon juice to mix

Gluten free, egg free cake decorations
Gluten free (dairy free) with eggs

 175g butter or dairy free margarine
150g dark muscovado sugar
225g GF, nut free mincemeat (recipe here)
1 tbsp treacle or Golden Syrup

2 eggs

225g Doves Farm gluten free plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½tsp baking powder
milk to mix

For the icing:
200g icing sugar
Water or lemon juice to mix

Gluten free cake decorations
Egg free with wheat flour

175g butter or margarine
150g dark muscovado sugar
225g mincemeat (recipe here)
1 tbsp treacle or Golden Syrup

4 tsps Orgran 'no egg' egg replacer
1 tbsp ground linseeds
milk/apple juice to mix

225g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½tsp baking powder
milk to mix

For the icing:
200g icing sugar
Water or lemon juice to mix

Egg free cake decorations (beware the egg white in some decorations!)
Dairy free with wheat flour and eggs

175g dairy free margarine
150g dark muscovado sugar
225g mincemeat (recipe here)
1 tbsp treacle or Golden Syrup

2 eggs

225g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½tsp baking powder
Coconut milk to mix

For the icing:
200g icing sugar
Water or lemon juice to mix

Cake decorations


























Method

If using an egg free version of the recipe, put the egg replacer powder and linseeds into a small bowl and whisk to a paste with the milk/coconut milk or apple juice. Set aside. Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases, or if making a loaf, line the loaf tin with baking parchment. Heat the oven to 180°Celsius / Gas Mark 4.

Put the margarine/butter, sugar, eggs or egg replacing mix and syrup/treacle into a mixing bowl/KitchenAid (or similar). Beat or blitz until combined. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and mix again until incorporated. Add the mincemeat and mix. Add enough milk/coconut milk to give a soft dropping consistency, about 2-4 tablespoons.

Spoon tablespoons of the mix into the cupcake cases (or scrape it all into a loaf tin) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cakes have risen and are springy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.(For a loaf, expect to bake it for about an hour/hour fifteen, until it has risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once the loaf has risen - after about 30 minutes - cover with tin foil so that the centre bakes and the top doesn't burn.) 

For the icing, sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add enough water to make a fairly runny icing. This is a trial and error process, so you may end up sieving in more icing sugar until you get the consistency you require.

Then set your creative spirit free. Drizzle, splodge, smear, splatter, sprinkle. Anything goes and everything is OK. (I may make that a motto for life.)

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Friday, 6 December 2013

Gluten free Rocky Road (egg free, dairy free)


gluten free rocky road
20 days to go. That's two lots of ten or four lots of five. Whichever way you cut it, we ain't got long

I spend most of my life feeling like a freak. 

I dress differently to most people (for 'differently' read 'scruffily'), I'm a little offbeat and I am the queen of the inappropriate comment in polite society. (I'm still squirming over a comment I made at a swimming gala last weekend. Whole other story.)

And never do I feel more out of step than at Christmas.

I watch in amazement as sane, rational peers - who presumably grew up like me in the '70's when Christmas meant a Tiny Tears and a Chocolate Orange - drop bone shuddering amounts of cash on their offspring for Christmas.

This isn't me being a fiscal prude, I am talking £500 per child. At least £500 per child.

To put this in context, £500 would buy me a week long ski pass to the Quatre Vallées and still give me change for vin chaud at the top of the Veysonnaz. A much more reasonable way to spend £500, I'm sure you'll agree.

Does no one else feel a little bit sickened by an iPad here, a Wii there and a pair of Ugg boots over yonder? All ripped open and cast aside with a careless thank you and a shifty look under the tree for the next expensive present.

I know I sound humbug-ish and of course I'm going to treat my kids, (and the music teachers, swim coaches, class teachers, babysitter, neighbour and the postman) but the gifts are going to be modest.

Because - news flash - my kids will still have a lovely Christmas with a good stash of thoughtful gifts, a hearty family meal, crappy crackers, a silly hat and a box set of Mr Bean. Yes they might wish for an iMacpadAir (or whatever) but if wishes were horses...

So is it impossibly whimsical and schmaltzy to say, 'Christmas is about family rather than greedy consumption'?

Well I've said it anyway and that's what I truly believe.

Apart from when it comes to chocolate.

When it comes to chocolate and Christmas, it's perfectly OK to gorge until you are actually sick. (In fact vomiting might even be necessary so that you can carry on consuming.)

So to facilitate your chocolate excesses, I've made some gluten free, dairy free Rocky Road.

More critically-minded readers will see that this is an easy way to get a festive post in before the grim reality of Christmas hits and there'll be no more blogging from me because I'll be rocking in a corner in the foetal position.

Gluten free Rocky Road

Although Rocky Road is usually made with ground up biscuits, I pretend to myself that using rice cereal makes this healthier. Tesco does a gluten free rice cereal, although the 'May Contain' lists nuts and soya. You could opt for your usual brand of 'safe' biscuits instead, or you could bake a batch of my GF, EF, DF ginger biscuits and crunch them up.

Ingredients:
125g dairy free margarine
300g gluten free, dairy free chocolate
3 tbsps golden syrup
200g gluten free rice cereal (or GF, DF, EF biscuits)
100g gluten free, dairy free, egg free marshmallows (here are some vegan marshmallows
festive gf sprinkles

Method:

Line a brownie tin with baking parchment and set aside. In a large saucepan, melt the dairy free margarine and chocolate over a low heat. Add the golden syrup and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and spoon about five tablespoons of the chocolate mix into a bowl and set aside.

Add the rice cereal/biscuits and marshmallows to the saucepan and stir until everything is coated in chocolate. Yum! Scrape the mix into the brownie tin and level with the back of the spoon.

Drizzle the reserved chocolate onto the surface of the Rocky Road and use the back of a spoon to spread it around. Don't worry if you don't coat the surface evenly, no one is going to care.

Sprinkle the surface of the Rocky Road with pretty, festive sprinkles and place the brownie tin in the refrigerator until the Rocky Road has set. 

Slice into squares and cram into your mouth to alleviate Christmas stress and the horrors of Western consumption.

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved