Category Gluten-free

Spiced crunchy chickpeas

This is a seriously great snack and is particularly ideal to eat on its own, with drinks or to add to salads in place of croutons. These chickpeas are ridiculously moreish: I can eat a whole batch of these quite happily! Flavour all the way! Crunchy chickpeas are certainly nothing new, and recipes abound online. […]

Cappuccino chocolates

There is always something intensely satisfying about making chocolates, not least because you can have whatever flavours, fillings and adornments you want – and at a fraction of the cost from those you buy from the artisan chocolate shops. Mind you, I do have a real weakness for artisan chocolate shops! Crisp chocolate shells with soft […]

Blueberry and raspberry macarons

I have been making many batches of macarons in recent weeks – sadly not all for me: most have been for friends, with a few macarons from some of my batches used for temperature testing for a recent post. Raspberries are one of my favourite fruits and I need little excuse to use these in sweet bakes: […]

1-minute smoked mackerel pâté!

This is an incredibly quick but insanely good smoked mackerel pâté, and one I have been making for many many years. It helps to buy the smoked mackerel already boned, but you literally just mix it all together to give the most delicious pâté. The pâté is delightfully coarse, unashamedly rustic, but for a fish pâté […]

Christmas cake bites

This is just a simple variation on a Christmas cake, going for individual bites of cake rather than making a large cake. Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s puddinis (such a fabulous name!), which use left-over Christmas pudding, these instead use some of the Christmas cake mixture I made for this year’s Christmas cake: I simply increased […]

Mocha walnut pavlova

I have not made a pavlova for a few years, but it is always lovely to re-visit an occasional bake such as this. Rather than go for many layers of meringue, I went for one thick layer as the base, which was then topped with the cream and the wonderful coffee, walnuts and dark chocolate. […]

Blowtorch baba ghanoush

Baba ghanoush is one of my favourite dips and is hands-down the best use of aubergines for me. It it great with crunchy fresh vegetables or breadsticks and the like to dip into it. I used the terrific Andrew James Chef’s Blowtorch to do the bulk of the work: the charring of the vegetables – […]

Gluten-free orange & blackberry polenta cake: Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

This is a recipe given to me by Macmillan to try out, ahead of this year’s Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. It is a very moist, light cake and it tastes wonderful. It is also very easy to bake. I would recommend making several of these orange polenta cakes for the Coffee Morning as they […]

Home-made goats’ cheese

Post updated March 2017: new batch of cheese photos added This is my first ever attempt at making cheese – a cheese that I only started to really enjoy a few years ago, but I absolutely adore it now and use it often in my baking. One of my favourite uses of goats’ cheese is […]

Coloured Mirror glazes: as simple or as elaborate as you want…..

NB: while some of these attempts are practices done on a flat surface, the spiced orange & rum cake, the Purple Rain coffee and rum cake, the blood orange & raspberry cake and the planet cake are real cakes. I will post recipes for these in due course, but feel free to contact me in the meantime about […]

Roasted coffee bean butter: a great ingredient for coffee lovers

I am so excited to share this post for roasted coffee bean butter. Coffee is one of my favourite flavours, almost beating chocolate for me. This butter, which is basically freshly ground coffee beans infused with hot butter, has a very rich, deep coffee flavour that you simply cannot get close to when using either instant coffee […]

Strawberry & lemon dacquoise: with a cheat’s version!

A dacquoise is a wonderful dessert in its own right. I made this one for my partner’s birthday cake as a more dessert-type feel was wanted. It is essentially pavlova with more bite to it: meringue with toasted nuts in the mixture. A real melt-in-the-mouth dessert with a deep nutty flavour. This version, with the nutty meringue being […]

Earl Grey Tea cupcakes: cupcakes with attitude!

Post updated: May 2017 (additional photos of a more recent batch) Cupcakes need two key things to work, in my opinion: a light and nicely flavoured sponge and a very well-flavoured, not-too-sweet icing that melts in the mouth. Those dry sponge affairs with a mass of sickly icing that tastes of nothing other than sugar […]

Quick and easy chicken, peach & Feta salad

This very simple and very low-fat salad is made in moments and is an immensely satisfying dish in its own right, not to mention being one of the nicest salads you can eat. And while this is a healthy salad, it doesn’t taste healthy – a bonus in my book! The salad is packed with […]

Cocoa brownies with browned butter & walnuts

  For my second assignment with the Secret Recipe Club, I was allocated Erin’s wonderful The Spiffy Cookie blog from which to choose a recipe. Erin has a magnificent blog; it is a great source of foodie inspiration and is packed with recipes you just want to make. And the name The Spiffy Cookie is wonderful. Erin also […]

Tangy blackcurrant chocolates

  I have such a weakness for chocolate: mass-produced chocolate often hits the spot but the exquisite ones you can buy in artisan chocolate shops are always a treat. And with good chocolates, you only need to eat one or two to get that lovely, all-is-well-with-the-world feeling! Well, maybe three…….. However, I do like to make my own because […]

Spiced chicken & asparagus with a fresh courgette & carrot salad

These are two very simple and quick dishes that go so well together: a spicy chicken stir-fry with a refreshing, full-flavoured vegetable salad. They are also very low-fat, as well as being gluten-free. Now I love indulgent food (in moderation) and I really loathe the sort of healthier food that is in any way boring, tasteless and/or insubstantial. […]

Simple raspberry chocolates

I love making use of left-overs and these simple chocolates hit the spot perfectly! Quick to make, they use the remains of some raspberry buttercream and some chocolate from a recent cake I had made (below). Filling I would normally make a ganache for filling chocolates (or use fruit curd, salted caramel sauce etc….), but here the buttercream is […]

Smoked salted caramel & bitter chocolate macarons

Post updated: August 2016 At the risk of tumbling shamelessly into the world of the melodramatic, I would go so far as saying that these particular macarons are to die for. The shells, which have some walnuts in them (just enough to give a hint), are sprinkled with smoked sea salt before baking. Now I love salted […]

Sous-vide pork tenderloin on a bed of creamed leeks & chorizo

A no-carb meal (for once!) and an excuse to put the sous-vide machine through its paces with a very simple meal, highlighting the joys of the wonderfully inexpensive pork tenderloin. As it is a very lean meat, pork tenderloin is prone to drying out when it is cooking and can rapidly go from under-done to […]

Warm crab choux bites

This is my version of a canapé I had in a restaurant ages ago. These are simple, but highly effective little savoury bites: light choux pastry, flavoured subtly with cheese and mustard, and filled with a simple fresh white crab meat sauce. I use mayonnaise in the filling so that as the choux heat up, […]

quick and easy galangal & lime cake (gluten-free)

This is a very simple and quite speedy cake that can made and iced within an hour. The sponge is flavoured with galangal, which gives a lovely subtle spicy flavour, although you can use ground ginger for a more potent kick. I have gone for a very simple and quick rich cream cheese icing, flavoured […]

The easiest & quickest smoked mackerel pâté in the world!

This is an insanely simple and almost instant smoked mackerel pâté that is seriously big on flavour – perfect spread liberally on hot toast or eaten with a baguette as part of a light snack. The pickled gherkins are quite wonderful in here and really lift the pâté somewhat: I tend use use the sliced […]

Raspberry cascade cake

With baking I am a firm believer that simplicity, done well, can often give the best results. And while I occasionally go for over-the-top-looking creation with cakes, for me it really is flavour that is has to be at the heart of the cake: after all, once a cake has been cut into and has lost some of […]

Savoury macarons: smoked salmon & horseradish

When it comes to the list of my food pleasures, smoked salmon on sliced brioche with a thin spreading of caper butter is up there near the top: the smoky saltiness of the salmon, the sweet butteriness of the brioche and the slightly tart capers make for a perfect partnership. These macarons are my bite-sized version […]

Earl Grey scones with raspberry curd

In this post I have given two recipes: one for the scones and another for the raspberry curd. A little bit of Afternoon Tea in each bite, these light scones are easy to make and even easier to eat! Eaten with clotted cream and a good fruit curd these scones will, I am sure, not […]

The joys of a food dehydrator: “Andrew James” product review & tips

I was very lucky to have received an Andrew James food dehydrator that some friends bought me for Christmas: a food dehydrator is a gadget I had been thinking about owning for a while, primarily with a view to making my own fruit and vegetable powders (I will come to these in a moment!), but also to have […]

Ginger snowmen macarons

Although I make macarons frequently, it is a first for me to do a macaron shape that is anything other than circular, so having seen meringue versions of snowmen in a shop recently I felt I had to make some as macarons….well, why not?! Looking online, it is little surprise that macaron snowmen and other quirky […]

A very special Rich Fruit cake

This is an easy fruit cake to make, taking minutes to mix together once the fruits have been soaked. It has bags of flavour, with a nice level of spice and little bursts of moist fruit inside. This fruit cake is suitable for any time of the year, not just at Christmas. Whilst I adore marzipan and Royal icing, […]

New Sainsbury’s “Bake Magazine”

A new, inspiring magazine: Recently launched, Sainsbury’s have created their new Bake Magazine: an exciting collection of recipes, tips and treats. This issue is packed with mouth-watering recipes from several of the Great British Bake Off favourites including Jo Wheatley, Frances Quinn and Howard Middleton, as well as stunning bakes from industry legends that include […]

Elmbridge Food Festival & my first cake decorating demo!

Wow! My 2nd visit to the annual Elmbridge Food Festival, held at the glorious Painshill Park, Surrey. This time, however, on top of enjoying the many delights of the Festival, I had two additional thrills: I was able to assist on the Clandestine Cake Club stall I gave a cake demonstration session on the Sunday. […]

Raspberry & dark chocolate mousse domes

Post updated April 2016: recipe tweaked, domes re-made and re-photographed One of the great joys for me when having Afternoon Tea, in addition to eating the most delectable sweet and savoury treats, is the inspiration I get. I shared one of these entremets as part of an Afternoon Tea a while ago and was blown […]

Carrot & walnut muffins

Updated April 2016: re-baked and re-photographed These muffins, flirting shamelessly into cupcake territory (no bad thing!), are a very moist and delicious, with subtle cinnamon tones adding a comforting spice note . Essentially they are a muffin-take on the classic carrot cake. They are also very simple to make. I have taken a recipe given to me by […]

A summer wedding cake

  A wedding cake I made for two of my former colleagues and dear friends from earlier this summer. It was such an honour to have been asked to make the wedding cake for this very special day. The pictures in this post were taken were by their photographer, and also former colleague, David, who has his […]

Chilli Jam

This is one of the easiest preserves to make and it tastes wonderful. I always make a large batch towards late summer once the chillies are ready in the greenhouse. It is a great way to use up a glut of ripe tomatoes, but this chilli jam works very well using tinned tomatoes. A versatile […]

Very easy cherry & smoked chocolate brownies (gluten-free)

Brownies have to be quick and simple to make, and they are such a versatile mixture that you can add all manner of goodies or replace some of the ingredients eg) replace the nuts with dried fruit or crushed biscuits…….. I use a recipe that I have had for decades, although I do tweak it from […]

Roasted onion & smoked cheese scones

Returning to my savoury roots, and it seems a while since I have posted a savoury recipe, I decided to make some cheese and onion scones, using roasted onion and smoked Cheddar cheese. This is a very rustic bake, and no apologies will come from me regarding that! They are also very easy to make and are […]

Bread & butter pickles: spicy, sweet cucumbers

Good preserves are terrific partners for good bakes, and these sweet, spiced and crunchy cucumbers are very easy and quick to make. Essentially these are sliced, salted cucumbers, bathing quite happily in a sweetened and spiced vinegar. And it is always exciting to pop open a new jar of preserves, especially in the winter months, with that evocative […]

Gluten-free Victoria Sandwich Cake

This is very much a quick, no-frills affair: utter simplicity and great flavour; what more is needed? The cake takes literally a couple of minutes to mix together, about 20 minutes baking and a few minutes to assemble the cooled sponges. Using xanthan gum or not This cake is softer than a cake made with traditional flour and crumbles […]

Black Forest Gateau with chocolate cherry mirror glaze (Gluten-free)

My current version of Black Forest Gateau, or “cake in drag” as Victoria Wood so deliciously put it, is way over-the-top for sure in terms of the adult flavours…..but I make no apologies for that, as it is an adult dessert cake! I have made and posted about Black Forest Gateau before, and each time I make […]

Coffee Dacquoise with caramelised hazelnuts

I ate a stunning Dacquoise in a pâtisserie in France very recently and I couldn’t wait to put my spin on it when recreating it back home. The crisp toasted hazelnut meringue layers are sandwiched together with a truly melt-in-the-mouth coffee buttercream, and it is topped with a very simple shiny chocolate glaze. About the recipe I took a standard […]

Mini Gluten-free Pistachio Fraisiers using left-overs!

  Further to posting my version of a large Fraisier a few weeks ago, I decided to make another large one for this month’s Clandestine Cake Club – this time going for a gluten-free version. And with left over elements, I also went for mini Fraisiers. A gluten-free treat! As I do with several of my bakes […]

Orange & cranberry macarons

I was working on a new cake recipe for the Christmas 2015 edition of a magazine, using orange, cranberry and white chocolate as the key flavours. However, I had a fair bit of ganache left over….so macarons were called for! Besides, I need no excuse to make a batch of macarons! The basic macaron recipe: The recipe for the macarons […]

Two flavours of savoury biscotti: gluten-free

  In this post I have given two recipes: one for sun-dried tomato, basil & pine nut biscotti; the other for olive and rosemary biscotti As moreish as sweet biscotti unquestionably are, savoury biscotti are in a slightly higher league for me, but then more-ish savoury food is one of my weaknesses! These biscotti are great […]

Cauliflower cheese & roasted garlic bites

Cheesy, garlicky and intensely savoury, these deep-golden little bites are a cross between mini muffins and soufflés. They are great eaten warm as canapés or just to graze on as a snack! I bake these in oiled mini muffin trays, getting 48 in total. These also freeze well once baked, only needing to be warmed up for about 5 […]

Gluten-free carrot cakes with white chocolate & cream cheese icing

I had not made a carrot cake in decades, but was asked by a former student if I would make a carrot cake for her wedding. As I made far much mixture, I made a batch of cupcakes with the excess. I then made a loaf-sized carrot cake. This recipe itself is a variation on a recipe […]

Gluten-free pistachio & passionfruit shortbreads

This is a variation on the salted caramel shortbreads I posted a while ago. For these ones I make mini pistachio shortbreads, topped them with fresh passionfruit curd (something I make and use a lot in my baking: recipe below), and coated them in white chocolate. Passionfruit and white chocolate go so well together that these are not […]

Lemongrass & ginger Cannelés

  Cannelés (or canelés!) have somehow escaped my foodie radar; the first time I ate one – a traditional vanilla flavour – was just a few weeks ago, served with an Afternoon Tea. However, I was so taken by them that I couldn’t wait to make a batch, and have since made several batches of […]

Passion fruit & raspberry swiss roll with passion fruit ganache

  When I make patterned Swiss Rolls and other sponges, I love using a joconde imprime but there has to be flavour in the colours and patterns. For patterns, I tend to go for simplicity: usually spots or stripes, but occasionally I go for fancy shapes or lettering across the Swiss Roll. However, stripes are certainly my […]

Shortcrust pastry & fool-proof blind-baking

This post is part of my Baking Tips page (whivh also has tips for macarons, croissants, cake decorating ideas and bread.) Key pastry tips Flavouring the dough Recipe: standard shortcrust pastry Flavour variations: flavouring the dough for both sweet & savoury pastry Rolling out tips Lining a tin Baking blind Using the blind-bake pastry case Gluten-free shortcrust […]

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